On October 5 the WalkSafe program at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine promoted student safety and wellness at Charles R. Drew Elementary School on International Walk to School Day.
Students at Charles R. Drew Elementary School took part in the Miller School’s WalkSafe program on October 5, learning about safe pedestrian practices and the importance of staying physically fit.
Approximately 300 students walked and rolled to school along with parents, teachers, and community leaders. In the U.S., International Walk to School Day was celebrated at more than 3,500 events at participating schools. Walkers from the U.S. joined children and adults in more than 40 countries around the world.
Under the direction of Gillian Hotz, associate research professor of neurological surgery at the Miller School, WalkSafe marks its tenth year of existence and continues to expand its research initiatives and program efforts. Since 2003, the WalkSafe school-based educational program has been mandated in every public school in Miami-Dade County and reaches more than 150,000 children each year. “Using a comprehensive 5-E model that involves education, engineering, enforcement, encouragement and evaluation, WalkSafe has contributed to a 53 percent decrease in the number of child pedestrian injuries in Miami-Dade County,” says Christine Stinson, WalkSafe program manager.
In addition to improving pedestrian safety and walkability for children, WalkSafe also aims to increase physical activity levels by encouraging children to walk to and from school. “We have an obesity problem in this country,” says Hotz. “This program is designed for kids who are elementary school age, starting in kindergarten. If we start young, we can get those basic understandings of how to walk safely to school and increase their daily activity.”
For more information on the WalkSafe Program, visit www.walksafe.us or contact their offices at 305-243-8115.