By Seamus McGuire, AmeriCorps Member, Alumni Sponsored Team,
Serving at Parker-Varney Elementary School
On Oct. 28th, 2014, Parker Varney Elementary School had it’s first “Walk This Way Day.” The event was held to promote two goals for students and their families. The first reason was to emphasize the importance of walking, as part of a healthy lifestyle. The second reason was to promote student safety: crossing the street and on the sidewalks. The event started at 7:40 a.m. a few blocks away from the school at TD Bank. When the Parker Varney City Year team arrived at the starting line friendly volunteers, families, teachers and students greeted us! New Hampshire Healthy Families and Safe Kids NH sponsored the event. The organizations provided many of the materials and set up the stations at the start and finish of the race.
There was a station at the starting line with a ton of safety brochures, reflective snap bracelets and signs for students and volunteers to carry as they walked. The handheld traffic signs had an assortment of different safety messages on them such as, “Slow Down” or “Obey The Law: STOP!” The City Year team gladly provided support where it was needed. Some of us walked alongside the students and their families, and talked with them on the way to school. The other half of the team provided support at the finish line, where we either helped pass out gift bags or helped walkers safely cross the street when they arrived at school.
The walk itself was a great time! The students were extremely energetic and excited to walk as a community to school. The positive energy, displayed by the students, made the walk enjoyable even though it was a little chilly out. As we walked, students proudly displayed their reflective snap bracelets and showed their traffic signs to any car that drove by. This was also a great opportunity for City Year to greet and talk to students whom we normally don't get the chance to talk to.
As we climbed up the final hill before the school we could see the finish line in sight. There was a station set up where students who had participated in the event could go and receive a special gift bag. The gift bag contained multiple items such as safety brochures, GoGurt, and even a small electronic pedometer that doubled as a radio. Overall, the event was a huge success! The students loved the items and it was great to see them get so excited about walking and being safe.