Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation Sponsoring Walk to School Day

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Oct. 6, 2008 – The Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation at Southeast Missouri State University in cooperation with the PTA of Alma Schrader Elementary School is sponsoring “International Walk to School Day” on Wednesday, Oct. 8.

Students are being encouraged to walk to school that day along with teachers, parents, grandparents and other community members who wish to participate. Walkers are asked to begin gathering at 7:30 a.m. at the shelter house in Dennis Scivally Park. School staff, PTA members and others are expected to be on hand as people arrive and gather. A police officer also will be present and will assist with traffic control as parents drop off their children.  All assembled walkers will leave the park at 7:45 a.m. and walk to Alma Schrader School on the new sidewalks along Masters Drive and Randol Avenue.  The group will arrive at the school shortly before 8 a.m.

University faculty and students from the Southeast Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation will be at the park and joining in the walk to promote healthful walking for students and their families, said Dr. Mark Langenfeld, Southeast professor of health, human performance and recreation, and biology.  He says the Department’s programs such as health management, physical education, recreation and sport management all emphasize and promote active lifestyles.

“This event is a great way to emphasize the healthy aspects of walking to school and highlight ways to help make walking more attractive as a way to get to school,” he said. “We truly have something to celebrate this year with the new sidewalks in the Alma Schrader neighborhood as the culmination of the city’s response to the need for safe routes to school in the neighborhood. Promoting walking to school is one worthy strategy to help increase the levels of physical activity among our children.

“The inaugural event in 2005 highlighted the lack of sidewalks near the school,” he said. “Now, each time we walk, we celebrate the new sidewalks that provide safe routes to school for the children of Alma Schrader Elementary School as well as enhance the ability to walk the entire neighborhood.”

Now in its 12th year, the International Walk to School coalition involves more than 5,000 schools in all 50 states. The idea is to walk to school together with a purpose – to promote health through physical activity, safety and concern for the environment. Walkers in the United States are among children and adults in 40 countries around the world participating.

Langenfeld made a presentation in 2006 at the International Congress on Obesity in Sydney, Australia, telling about the successes of the local event and the Walk to School movement.

“It was wonderful to be able to highlight our Cape schools and Cape Girardeau at an international forum,” he said.

For more information prior to the walk, contact Langenfeld at (573) 651-2461 or Alma Schrader School Principal Ruth Ann Orr at (573) 335-5310. On the day of the event, contact Langenfeld at (573) 837-0967.