Staff and students at Miller's Run School in Sheffield joined others around the world to celebrate "International Walk to School Day" on Oct. 8. Everyone dressed for rainy weather, but the rain stopped as participants gathered at the Municipal Building; the sun and a rainbow greeted the walkers as they arrived at the school grounds.
Miller's Run School reached Silver Partner Status with the Vermont Safe Routes to Schools program at the end of last school year. Sophia Hall, school nurse, is the School Champion for Safe Routes to Schools. A committee has been working with engineers and staff of Vermont Safe Routes to Schools to make it safer for students to walk and bike to Miller's Run.
Walk to School Day was established in the United States in 1997 by the Partnership for a Walkable America. Canada and Great Britain already had walk to school programs in place. In 2000, these three countries joined together to create International Walk to School Day. In May 2006, the National Center for Safe Routes to School was established to assist communities in enabling and encouraging children to safely walk and bike to school. The National Center for Safe Routes to School serves as the national coordinating agency for Walk to School activities in the United States.
Walk to School Day began as a simple idea -- children and parents, school and local officials walking to school together on a designated day. It is an energizing event, reminding everyone of the simple joy of walking to school, the health benefits of regular daily activity, and the need for safe places to walk and bike. Schools focus on health, safety, physical activity and concern for the environment.
Organizations supporting International Walk to School Day in the United States include America Walks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Highway Administration, the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the National Center for Safe Routes to School, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Safe Kids Worldwide, and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership.