Health, Human Performance and Recreation Co-Sponsoring Int’l. Walk to School Day

Event promotes health, safety, physical activity and concern for the environment

Cape Girardeau, Mo., Oct. 4, 2010 — The Department of Health, Human Performance and Recreation at Southeast Missouri State University in cooperation with the PTA of Alma Schrader School is sponsoring “International Walk to School Day” on Wednesday, Oct. 6.

Students are being encouraged to walk to school that day along with teachers, parents, grandparents, and other community members who wish to participate. The nearby Dennis Scivally Park will be the gathering point for walkers. Walkers can begin gathering at 7:30 a.m. in the park at the shelter house. School staff, PTA members and others will be present as people arrive and gather. A police officer will also be present and will assist in traffic control as parents drop their children off at the park. All assembled walkers will leave the park at 7:45 a.m. and walk to Alma Schrader School on the 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 Department will be at the park and joining in the walk in the interests of promoting healthful walking for students and their families. The various programs of the Department such as health management, physical education, recreation, athletic training 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,” said Dr. Mark Langenfeld, professor of health, human performance and recreation, and biology. “This one day event prompted the launch of our Walking School Bus program which gives students a chance to walk to school each week. Walking School Bus is funded with Safe Routes to School grant funds.”

Alma Schrader Elementary School in Cape Girardeau will join schools from around the world to celebrate International Walk to School Day on Wednesday Oct. 6. The school began participating in the event in 2005 and highlighted the lack of sidewalks near the school. Now there are neighborhood sidewalks along the school’s property and along primary approach streets. The City’s response in building sidewalks is part of a larger goal of fostering Safe Routes To School as well as enhancing the walkability of the entire neighborhood.

Now in its 14th year, International Walk to School Day will have participants in all 50 states. The idea is to walk to school together with a purpose ᾰ to promote health through physical activity, safety and concern for the environment. Walkers from the United States will join children and adults in more than 40 countries around the world. The Wednesday event is one component of the International Walk to School Month being celebrated worldwidE.

Langenfeld made a presentation in July at the International Congress on Obesity in Stockholm, Sweden, telling about the successes of the local event and the Walk to School Bus School movement.

“It was wonderful to be able to highlight our Cape Schools and Cape Girardeau at an international forum,” he said. “Promoting walking to school is one worthy strategy to help increase the levels of physical activity among our children. And they love walking. It is loads of fun.”

For additional information, please contact Langenfeld at (573) 651-2461 or Alma Schrader Elementary School Principal Ruth Ann Orr at (573) 335-5310.

About International Walk to School Day• 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.  The worldwide coalition now includes more than 40 countries.

• Alma Schrader is among the schools worldwide that have registered as a participating school in this event. More than 2,800 schools in the United States participated in International Walk to School Day in 2009. Participants in more than 40 countries will participate in International Walk to School in 2010, involving millions of people worldwide.

• 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.

• The National Center for Safe Routes to School encourages efforts to assure that children have safe routes to school so that walking is an attractive option. Encouraging greater physical activity among young people is a key goal, especially as rates of overweight and obesity among children have increased so drastically in recent years. The Partnership for a Walkable America is a national coalition working to improve the conditions for walking in America and to encourage more Americans to walk regularly.

• Organizations involved in this year’s event in the United States include the National Center for Safe Routes to School, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

For additional information, please visit these web sites:

International Walk to School in the USA www.walktoschool.org International Walk to School Week www.iwalktoschool.org National Center for Safe Routes to School www.saferoutesinfo.org Partnership for a Walkable America www.walkableamerica.org