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Local Students to Join International Walk to School Day

Schools in Santa Barbara, Goleta and Montecito are expected to participate Wednesday

This Wednesday, Oct. 6, students in Santa Barbara, Goleta and Montecito will join children around the world who are making the commitment to a healthier lifestyle by walking or bicycling to school on International Walk to School Day.

Last year, 30 South Coast schools participated, and more are expected this year.

Walk to School Day has served as a catalyst for implementing regular walk and bike programs at local schools. A new “Walk & Roll” campaign and Web site have been launched recently to help parents and students find out more information about walking, biking, bus use and carpooling. The goal is to get more students to “walk & roll” to school healthy, happy and green.

In the United States, International Walk to School Day is expected to include 5,000 schools from all 50 states. Walkers from the United States will join children and adults in 40 countries around the world. Walk to School events work to create safer routes for walking and bicycling and emphasize the importance of issues such as increasing physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, traffic congestion, concern for the environment and building connections among families, schools and the broader community.

The event is being organized locally by COAST’s Safe Routes to School program, working with school parent champions to have festive greeting tables, the school band playing, donated prizes and healthy snacks welcome children who walk or roll to school on this day. Deckers Outdoor Corp. is a local sponsor.

“Communities are using walking and bicycling to school as the first step to change their culture and create environments that are more inviting for everyone, young and old,” said Lauren Marchetti, director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School.

The following local schools plan to participate: Adams, Brandon, Cold Spring, El Camino, Ellwood, Foothill, Harding, Hope, Hollister, Isla Vista, Kellogg, McKinley, Monroe, Monte Vista, Mountain View, Peabody, Vieja Valley and Washington elementary schools, and Goleta Valley, La Colina and La Cumbre junior high schools.

— Kim Stanley-Zimmerman represents the Coalition for Sustainable Transportation.

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