October 6, 2008

Alameda Kids Will Walk and Roll to School

By Lucinda Ryan

A move to get kids out of cars and on their feet (or bikes) on the way to school is spreading in Alameda.

For the first time, Chipman and Wood middle schools will do what Lincoln Middle School and several elementary schools have been doing for a while _ join in the spirit of the annual Walk & Roll to School Day on Wednesday.

"It was so successful at Lincoln that we wanted to spread the word," said Pam Chang, president of the Alameda PTA Council. The PTA tries to share best practices and it was easy to communicate with Wood and Chipman schools' PTAs and administrations.

The elementary schools also participate. High schoolers often live farther from their campuses and take buses or cars to school.

The program, which is held in more than 42 countries, began eight years ago to encourage healthy practices and discourage car use when unnecessary.

It's part of International Walk to School Week with its Eighth Annual Walk & Roll to School Day. Advocates suggest that even students whose parents must drive them to school can participate by parking a few blocks away and then walking the short distance to school.

At some elementary schools, local fitness center trainers will be at the campuses when students arrive to guide children in fitness exercises before classes begin.

Community businesses and nonprofits offering support for the event include Abbott Diabetes Care, Alameda Hospital; Bank of Alameda; Kaiser Permanente; Perforce Software; Alameda PTA Council; Alameda Hospital, Pedestrian Friendly Alameda; and the UC Cooperative Extension Bay Area Children's Power Play Campaign, in cooperation with the Alameda Unified School District, which is sponsoring the event.

Originally published by Lucinda Ryan , Alameda Journal Correspondent.

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