Matthews students participate in walk to school

October 28, 2013 by  

Students in at least 15 schools in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system, including the outlying towns of Davidson and Matthews, participated in an International Walk to School Day on October 9. No doubt poster printing was used throughout the area to encourage as many students as possible to ride their bicycles or walk to school.

North Carolina Secretary of Transportation Tony Tata and Superintendent Heath Morrison spearheaded the event, starting shortly after sunrise, and urged people to walk the 4/10 mile from the Unitarian Universalist Church to the Cotswold Elementary School. According to Tata, the transportation department has a Safe Routes to School program that focuses on what makes walking and bicycle riding healthy, but also the importance of pedestrian safety. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a non-profit organization with the goal to reverse obesity on children by 2015, supports the program as well.

International Walk to School Day has been observed by the schools in Mecklenburg County for several years but, more recently, has been expanded to include suburban schools as the towns outside of Charlotte and the city itself have expanded their programs in sidewalk construction.

International Walk to School was started in Great Britain in 1994 and involved just a few students in the county of Hertfordshire. Since then, it has grown to become an international effort with the overall goal of bringing permanent changes to communities around the world. It encourages physical activity, raises awareness regarding the community and its environment, and helps to reduce pollution and traffic congestion near schools.