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All aboard - the walking school bus is here!

Our Mountain Buggy duo mummy Tabatha, has been going hard out there in her community, campaigning to "Stop Talking, Start Walking!" with awesome results! Read about her inspiring campaign and how she is encouraging families to get out there and live life without limit!
After months of planning, organizing, recruiting, training, marketing and PR, the Walking School Bus at Hermosa View Elementary School is up and running... or should I say “walking!”

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We had a tremendous turn out on launch day, and myself and six other volunteers walked  60 children  to school. There were many parents, siblings, dogs, wagons and strollers, marching along side the sea of children marching happily.

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We had an enormous cut out of a yellow school bus, which the children enjoyed walking with. Another highlight was being escorted by a police officer on his motorcycle. To make the launch day even more special, I put together surprise bags with a lot of help from my daughters and their little friends, for all the children who participated.

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How does a Walking School Bus (WSB) work?
Parents are able to drop off their children at any one of our WSB stops EVERYDAY! Our students will be greeted by a WSB Leader (a parent volunteer) and be supervised while they walk to school with their peers.
All our parent volunteers / WSB leaders must pass a police background check, have a TB test, and pass 'Megan's Law' before they qualify.

To establish the safe route to school, I consulted the Hermosa Beach Police Department, and city officials to locate ideal stops. I made a point of making our designated stops at locations where there were crosswalks so children could safely cross the street, and wide sidewalks were a key factor as well.

Safety of our students is paramount as we walk to school on a daily basis. Currently, we are in need of improvements and enforcement to make our route to school an ideal and safe environment. I have another meeting scheduled with the city on Thursday to discuss re-painting existing, faded crosswalks bright yellow, changing the timer at a busy intersection so our students have enough time to walk across the street safely, posting WSB signs on existing poles, and having the police patrol our route during our Walking School Bus times. This will encourage drivers to use caution and watch their speed.

The Walking School Bus has had an average of 40 Hermosa View Students per day. It will be interesting to see if walking with the bus will wain or, if we will continue to grow in the months ahead, especially as we are coming into winter, which will mean some rainfall, and cooler mornings... nothing like our Canadian friends experience. I have to admit I do not miss Toronto winters one bit!

We are just one week into our Walking School Bus, but it has been such a success that I am in the midst of getting another Walking School Bus in place for our students who come to school from the opposite direction. I hope to get this up and “walking” just after the New Year.

Wish me luck - there is no stopping me now!

PS. Our local paper wrote an extensive article on our Walking School Bus and we are going to be filmed for show called “Where on Earth” this week. They will be interviewing me on walking and healthy lifestyle choices! Spreading the word - this will reach 10 million households! Read the article.

Green Tip: Why walk to school ?
I won’t list all 100 reasons, but I will list a few benefits for children who walk to school:

  • they are more alert and ready to learn;
  • they learn how to be a safe pedestrian;
  • help reduce traffic;
  • connect with their neighborhood;
  • lower their chance of obesity and other childhood related diseases.

Wouldn’t you like your children to reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle? All you have to do is encourage them to walk!

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All gorgeous images supplied by Missy Wuertz of Missy Marie Photography

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