Thursday, June 25, 2009

Laurel Park Parents Surveyed for Safe Routes to School

Activate Martinsville/Henry County hosted an awards ceremony on Tuesday, June 2, at Laurel Park Middle School to present new bicycles to six students who won them in an Activate drawing. The prize of a new bicycle was an incentive for parents to complete a survey on the newly introduced Safe Routes to School program. The surveys provided important information about community opinion towards children either walking or biking to school. In partnership with the National Center for Safe Routes to School, Activate will submit the findings of the completed surveys to a national database as well as utilize the results to build an application for a Safe Routes to School grant through SAFETEA-LU.

Six bike winners were chosen on Tuesday with two recipients from each grade level. The winners were Cesar Vasquez and Paisley Witcher for the sixth grade, Danielle Painter and Jalen Hodge for the seventh grade, and Danté Hairston and Shineice Wells for the eighth grade. In addition to students, parents, and the Activate staff, Laurel Park Middle School’s Assistant Principal Brandt Gerhardt and Physical Education teachers Patrick Mills and Melissa Carroll supported the awards ceremony on Tuesday.

Activate is currently investigating the attitudes toward the implementation of a Safe Routes to School Program at two local schools including Martinsville Middle School and Laurel Park Middle School.

The National Center for Safe Routes to School designed the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Program not only to encourage physical activity among the nation’s youth, but also to preserve the environmental sustainability of local areas by reducing automobile use and traffic congestion. The main goal of the program is to simultaneously enhance the livability of an area and promote a healthy and safe way for children to get to school. “SRTS” is a federal-aid program of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA),” said Jeannie Frisco, Program Manager for Activate Martinsville Henry County. “It is fully funded by federal grants and does not require any additional local funding.” Over $612 million have been awarded thus far to local and state organizations to fund initiatives of SRTS.

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