By Vickie Jacobsen
Families around Evanston – and the country - made an extra effort to leave the car at home on October 4 in honor “International Walk and Roll to School Day.” The weather cooperated, despite forecasts, and the sidewalks and streets around Evanston Schools were filled with kids and parents walking, skipping, riding, rollerblading and scootering to school. Willard, Washington, Walker, and Lincoln were just some of the schools that made an extra effort to encourage participation.
- At Washington School, parent volunteers, the Principal and some ambitious 4th-grade students handed out stickers to kids, saying “I walked/biked to school today!” Who doesn’t love a sticker?
- At Willard and Washington, the school buses dropped the children off a block or two away so that they could walk the remainder of the journey to school and also earn a sticker.
- Crossing guards at multiple schools, noted higher numbers of families on foot and one even mentioned noticing fewer cars.
International Walk and Roll to School Day is a great day to celebrate Evanston’s neighborhood schools and sidewalk-lined streets but its underlying goal is remind us of how our daily habits can improve our quality of life. Kids who walk or bike to school enjoy outdoor exercise before the long day at school and while the pace of life today can seem frantic, walking can be a valuable opportunity to slow down, have a conversation about the day and interact with the community. That doesn’t even include the safety and environmental benefits or the fact that you are teaching your kids healthy habits and maybe even some traffic safety skills along the way.
Another opportunity of Walk and Roll to School Day is to evaluate the safety and condition of the walking and bicycling routes to our schools. Reporting hazards, such as damaged sidewalks or issues at intersections can help the City in its efforts to encourage more walking and bicycling.
Walk and Roll to School day can be every day or any day and it’s one of those decisions that will make the day better for you and your child.