Many New Bedford students will join students from around the state in celebration of “Walk and Bike to School Day” on Wednesday, May 1, 2013, as part of the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School program, in partnership with New Bedford Mass in Motion Kids and the City of New Bedford. Parents, teachers, school administrators and community leaders at participating New Bedford schools will walk and bike to and from school on Walk and Bike to School Day.
More than 300 elementary and middle schools in 111 communities across Massachusetts are working with Safe Routes to School, organizing activities and events to encourage students to walk and bicycle to school. Walk and Bike to School Day events raise awareness of the need to create safer routes for walking and bicycling and emphasize the importance of issues such as increasing physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, traffic congestion and concern for the environment. The events build connections between families, schools and the broader community.
Mayor Jon Mitchell will participate in the Walk and Bike to School Day event at the Elizabeth Carter Brooks Elementary School. The Brooks School walk/bike event will begin at the school (212 Nemasket Street) at 7:45 a.m. on Wednesday, May 1, 2013. Other schools in the district celebrating Walk and Bike School Day include John A. Parker Elementary, Betsey B. Winslow Elementary, Casmir Pulaski Elementary, Alfred J. Gomes Elementary, Horatio Kempton Elementary, Roosevelt Middle School and Carlos Pacheco Elementary.
The event at Brooks Elementary was organized and coordinated by Principal Kevin Sullivan and staff, Dr. Pauline Hamel and the New Bedford Mass in Motion Kids team, Erin Reed of MA DOT, Denise Gaudette of New Bedford Public Schools, the New Bedford Bike Committee, and the New Bedford Police Department.
Safe Routes programs can establish healthy lifetime habits for students, increase children’s independence, help them arrive at school ready to learn, and teach safe pedestrian, bicyclist, and driver skills.
“Safe Routes to School is a positive and collaborative effort that builds a healthier community by bringing together our schools, parents and students with city officials, public safety officers, health providers, and other partners,” said Dr. Pauline Hamel, project coordinator of New Bedford Mass in Motion Kids. She continued, “We are very grateful to Mayor Mitchell and school officials, teachers and City departments for their support of this partnership with Mass DOT/Mass RIDES, and we hope to see all our schools participating in the ‘Walk and Bike to School Day’ on May 1st . However, walking activities must go far beyond single events in our schools and should continue throughout the year. The Mass in Motion Kids research demonstration project aims to increase physical activity and healthy eating in schools, after school programs, childcare organizations and the community-at-large.”
For additional local information, please contact Dr. Pauline Hamel, New Bedford Mass in Motion Kids Coordinator, at (508) 380-7775. Mass in motion New Bedford website: www.massinmotionnewbedford.org.