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Local Schools to Step Up on International Walk to School Day

On Wednesday, Oct. 7, students across the South Coast will join school children in over 40 countries around the world who are making a commitment to a healthier lifestyle and cleaner environment by walking (or bicycling) to school on International Walk to School Day (IW2SD).

The event is supported locally by the Coalition for Sustainable Transportation's (COAST) Safe Routes to School program. 

Working in conjunction with school parent champions, nearly all south coast public schools will participate this year. At each school there will be fun reception tables with eye-catching banners greeting kids and parents with healthy snacks, this year including free organic Clif Kid Z-Bars and stickers, compliments of Clif Bar.  

Some schools will organize “walking school buses,” informal, parent-led walking groups.  

Many schools are so inspired by the success of IW2SD that they use it as the kickoff for their own weekly or monthly Walk & Roll program.  

At Foothill elementary in Goleta, COAST’s Safe Routes to School team will be on-site with a bike blender, rewarding walkers and bikers with pedal-powered smoothies. 

Later this school year, COAST will issue its second annual Walk & Roll Challenge across all regional schools to see whose classroom has the highest Walk & Roll participation, with great prizes for winning homerooms.

COAST urges all drivers to be especially cautious on International Walk to School Day and to watch for the increased pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

In the U.S., IW2SD is expected to include over 5,000 schools from all 50 states (2014 saw 4,783 events).  

Walk to School events work to create safer routes for walking and bicycling and emphasize the importance of issues such as increased physical activity among children (in efforts to reduce childhood obesity), improved pedestrian safety, reduced traffic congestion, concern for the environment and building connections between families, schools and the broader community.

— Barry Remis represents COAST Safe Routes to School.

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