We welcomed area community members walking with the students during recess times around the school building.
– Event organizer, NH
Because Walk and Bike to School Day events are held for so many reasons, there are many people who might want to be part of them. Depending on the goals of the event, there may be strategic reasons to get certain people involved. Parents, the school principal and law enforcement officers can contribute in many ways in all stages of the event. Community stakeholders can be valuable partners by providing information, resources and connections to help plan and carry out a fun and strategic event. The event is likely to have a long-term impact on the community. About 3 out of 4 event organizers surveyed reported that their event led to changes to policies or the built environment. Read the list below for ideas on who to involve and how.
Obtaining the approval of the school principal is critical for any walking or biking event. Their approval helps get others in the community on board and will make it easier to communicate with students and families. Many principals are willing to go the extra mile to make the event memorable. Explore ideas of fun things principals can do to participate in a walk or bike to school event and ways to engage them in the planning.
Parent involvement is critical to the success of walking and biking to school events. They decide whether or not their children will participate. They can also help spread the word, encourage other families to walk or bicycle and contribute assistance on the day of your event.
Schools across the U.S. have gotten sidewalks fixed and new trails built because they engaged public officials and other community leaders during their event. Walk and Bike to School celebrations give community leaders the opportunity to publicly support health, environment and safety initiatives.
Even if traffic safety is not a concern at your school, there are many reasons to reach out to local law enforcement officers and ask for help with your event. Law enforcement escorts, crossing guards, or a law enforcement presence can help everyone feel good about the event. Their knowledge of nearby traffic patterns can be useful in planning walking and bicycling routes. Their involvement can also set up a good working relationship for future activities.
Is there someone at the school who is already working on improving walking and biking routes in the community? Is there someone who regularly leads or contributes to initiatives like this? If so, get this person involved.
Schools around the country have reached out to local businesses and other community groups for help with Walk or Bike to School Day. A local grocery store may donate fruit or other healthy snacks for students, or a local business may recruit employees to lead a walking group. Remember young adults, too. Some elementary and middle schools recruit high school and college students to help.