Study: Communities Get Extra Mileage from "Walk to School Day"
In May 2002, White Mountain Research Associates in Plainsboro, N.J., produced a preliminary evaluation report on the "Walk to School Day Program," a national initiative supporting a day for children to walk to school with parents and community leaders.
White Mountain reported the following findings and recommendations to RWJF:
- Walk to School Day is not a one-day event. Communities are using it as an opportunity to promote related issues including environmental change, physical activity and safety.
- Communities can launch Walk to School Day with little or no funding.
- Although the initiative appears to be expanding significantly, national sponsors and local coordinators say that their greatest challenges are the lack of both resources and a single entity that could serve as a coordinator and clearinghouse at the national level.
- Community-based coordination tends to be preferable to school-based efforts.
- A central agency should serve as a coordinator of the program, providing communication and marketing at both national and local levels.
- A Web site should be developed as a clearinghouse for materials, information and resources.
- Communities should integrate health and safety issues to form a stronger basis for Walk to School Day.