Wednesday, May 20, 2015
St. John the Baptist Parish – St. John the Baptist Parish Government representatives, St. John law enforcement officers, and East St. John Elementary students and staff joined participants from across the country for “National Walk/Ride to School Day” on Wednesday, May 13, 2015. The event promotes exercise and healthier lifestyles for Parish youth and is an extension of the National American Heart Association’s Safe Routes to School Program. The St. John Grants Department, ESJ elementary Principal Stacey Bradford, St. John Sheriff’s Office Deputy Cindy Faucheux and Sgt. Marshall Carmouche orchestrated the morning’s activities.
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is a national and international movement to create safe, convenient, and fun opportunities for children to bicycle and walk to and from school. St. John received a $298,960.00 grant through the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development to execute the program which includes an educational component and construction improvements to pedestrian sidewalks and crosswalks in the vicinity of the school.
Through SRTS, students are taught safety tips and simple training for walking and biking to school as well as the many benefits of the physical activities and exercise. Participants learn the importance of wearing helmets and knee pads and riding bikes in a safe environment such as staying on the sidewalks and on safe-crossings. Bike racks, bike helmets, tee shirts and other equipment will be purchased in the future. “We had an overwhelming number of participants and the students were extremely excited to take part in the event,” said Bradford.
LaPlace Elementary is also a recipient of the Safe Routes to School Grant and hosted the First Annual Walk/Bike to School Day in 2012. “The goal is to help reverse the nationwide trend toward inactivity and promote a safe environment for which walking and riding to school is acceptable on a daily basis,” said St. John Grants Administrator Myra Alexis-Valentine. “We look forward to requesting grants to implement the program at other schools throughout the parish,” she added.