More than 3,000 elementary students and parents in Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach are expected to skip the carpool in honor of International Walk to School Day Oct. 8. But for these students, walking to school isn’t a once-a-year novelty. Each week, they choose leg power over horsepower as part of Beach Cities Health District’s “Walking School Bus” program.
Last school year, students who regularly walked in the program together logged more than 45,000 miles – enough to circle the globe nearly twice – and burned 1.8 million excess calories, or the equivalent of 150,000 Cheetos. And participation has grown 360 percent since the Walking School Bus program began in 2011.
“It’s inspiring to see so many kids in our school district modeling healthy behaviors by walking to school every week, not just on International Walk to School Day,” says Redondo Beach Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Steven Keller. “It’s well-documented that healthy kids perform better in the classroom. The program really supports the development of the whole child.”
The Walking School Bus will officially launch for the 2014-15 school year with the walk to school Oct. 8. Parents, trained Beach Cities Health District volunteers and thousands of children will meet at 36 different mile-long routes across three cities and safely walk together. Thirteen local elementary schools are currently participating, including every Redondo Beach elementary school.
For more information on the Walking School Bus, visit www.bchd.org.