Wednesday, July 16, 2008

For Immediate Release

“Promoting fun, health and fitness by encouraging walking and biking to school. Let’s get Pennsylvania kids moving again! It’s fun. It’s healthy. And it’s good for the environment.”
~ PANA Safe Routes To School Academy

For Immediate Release:
Michele Barrett
PO Box 6795
Wyomissing, PA 19610

Mount Penn Elementary Center Wins
PANA Safe Routes to School Academy Mini-Grant

In partnership with PennDOT, Pennsylvania Advocates for Nutrition and Activity (PANA) is helping schools and communities celebrate International Walk to School Day. On June 17, 2008 PANA announced the winners of its first round Safe Routes to School Academy Mini-Grants, and Mount Penn Elementary Center was one of five Pennsylvania Schools to be awarded $5,000. The purpose of the mini-grant award is to educate and encourage students to walk to school.

Mount Penn Elementary School and WalkBikeBerks will kick-off their Safe Routes to School Program with a Walking School Bus Celebration on October 8, 2008 –International Walk to School Day!

Kids need exercise. Sadly, the latest statistics prove they’re not getting it. In fact, childhood obesity rates have nearly doubled in the past twenty years. Along with all the health benefits of regular activity, children who walk or bike to school demonstrate better concentration, enhanced memory, improved learning and creativity, boosted mood for up to two hours after being physically active, higher test scores, and less disruptive behavior.
Changing behaviors of children and parents require creative solutions that are safe and fun. Safe Routes to School is a national effort with more than $612 million in federal funding to be allocated to states from 2005-2009. Twenty-one million of this funding has been designated to Pennsylvania to increase the number of students who walk or bike to school and improve the health and safety of our communities as a result. WalkBikeBerks, with PANA , will work closely with parents, school districts and local governments to begin their own Safe Routes To School Programs.
A simple, fun, cost-free transportation choice, a Walking School Bus is easy to organize. Developed by PANA, a walking school bus is a group of children walking to school under the supervision of one or more adults. It can be as informal as two families taking turns walking their children to school or as structured as a route with meeting points, a timetable and a regularly rotated schedule of trained volunteers. Parents often cite safety issues as one of the primary reasons they are reluctant to allow their children to walk to school. Providing adult supervision may help reduce those worries for families who live within walking or bicycling distance to school.
A walking school bus is simple to begin. Pick a single neighborhood that has a group of parents and children who are interested.
1. Invite families who live nearby to walk.
2. Pick a route and take a test walk.
3. Decide how often the group will walk together.
4. Have fun!

A good time to begin is during International Walk to School Week on October 6-10, 2008. Walk and look for ways to encourage more children and families to be involved. A second round of PANA Safe Routes to School Academy Mini-Grants opens October 8, 2008. Organize your SRTS Team today!

For more information, contact Michele Barrett, President of WalkBikeBerks at or visit PANA’s Safe Routes to School Academy Web site at

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