WalkSafe Program Addresses Student Safety and Health on International Walk to School Day
On October 5, faculty and staff from the WalkSafe program at the Miller School promoted student safety and wellness as they celebrated International Walk to School Day at Charles R. Drew Elementary School. Approximately 300 students walked and rolled to school along with parents, teachers and community leaders.
Under the direction of Gillian Hotz, Ph.D., associate research professor of neurological surgery, WalkSafe marked its 10th year of expanding its research initiatives and program efforts. Since 2003, the school-based educational program has been mandated in every public school in Miami-Dade County and reaches more than 150,000 children.
In addition to improving pedestrian safety and walkability for children, WalkSafe also aims to increase physical activity levels by encouraging children to walk to and from school.
“We have an obesity problem in this country,” said Dr. Hotz. “This program is designed for kids who are elementary school age, starting in kindergarten. If we start young, we can get those basic understandings of how to walk safely to school and increase their daily activity.”
The program also has a proven track record of helping to save lives.
“Using a comprehensive 5-E model that involves education, engineering, enforcement, encouragement and evaluation, WalkSafe has contributed to a 53-percent decrease in the number of child pedestrian injuries in Miami-Dade County,” says Christine Stinson, WalkSafe program manager.
In the U.S., International Walk to School Day was celebrated at more than 3,500 events at participating schools, and walkers from the U.S. joined children and adults in more than 40 countries.
For more information about WalkSafe, visit the website, or call 305-243-8115.