National Center for Safe Routes to School Announces 2011 Mini-grant Recipients

The National Center for Safe Routes to School announced this week the selection of 25 recipients of $1,000 mini-grants for projects designed to encourage safe walking and bicycling to school.  Over 245 application were submitted nationally. The mini-grant activities, many of which are driven by student leadership, will occur during the fall semester of the 2011-2012 school year.

“Communities continue to use these mini-grants to jumpstart new programs and to build upon strategies that may already be working well,” said the National Center’s Director Lauren Marchetti. “The community and student leadership recognized here exemplify the mindset that can lead to truly livable communities in the future.”

Congrats to all the schools that competed successfully – especially those winners from California,  who are:

Students at Animo Ralph Bunche High School

  • Animo Ralph Bunche High School (Los Angeles, Calif.) will begin a Safe Passages program called “Walk and Watch.” The school’s Parent Team Captains will walk to and from the most frequented student pathways at Bunche, focusing on the routes to and from LADOT bus stops. Parent volunteers will have walkie-talkies and t-shirts to increase the safety, communication and visibility of the “Walk and Watch” program. Students and parents will receive safety and health education, and weekly healthy family workshops will be offered in both English and Spanish.
  • Heron School (Sacramento, Calif.) will hold bicycle training classes to improve the safety of students who bicycle to school, a number that has risen because of deep cuts in school bus funding across the district. Over the course of 10 safety classes, groups of 10 to 15 students will learn about bicycle safety, traffic rules and regulations, signage, maintenance and proper helmet use. A local police officer trained in bicycle safety will provide education as well as safety and promotional materials such as bicycle safety books and handouts, strobe headlights, reflective arm bands, and helmets for students without access to bicycle helmets.
  • Rancho Cucamonga middle school. Photo credit: WLC Architects on flickr

    Rancho Cucamonga Middle School (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) will develop school-wide student-led SRTS activities that celebrate International Walk to School Month, promote mental and physical health, and encourage environmentally friendly modes of active transportation. City staff will work with Associated Student Body (ASB) leaders to teach students about the benefits of walking and bicycling. The ASB will then lead a student-designed poster contest promoting active transportation and healthy lifestyles; implement a stamp card program with incentives for frequent walking; and, during the Walk to School Month celebration, will use a bicycle to blend smoothies, which is a fun way to show how bicycling can help reduce emissions. Finally, the ASB will integrate bicycle safety education and maintenance classes into the celebration.

  • Oak Ridge Elementary School and Pacific Elementary School (Sacramento, Calif.) will partner with local law enforcement to educate parents and students about SRTS. Oak Ridge Elementary will partner with local high school students to walk with Oak Ridge students along routes that connect community meeting points with the school. These routes and the meeting points will be marked on walking maps, which will be printed in both Spanish and English. Pacific Elementary’s parent group will learn ways to oversee the safety of their children walking to school.Pacific Elementary students will advertise walking safety through art and writing assignments.

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