A number of metro schools are taking part in International Walk to School Day Wednesday.
The goals behind the push, locally sponsored by Safe Routes Nebraska, are to encourage safer travel routes, ensure proper markings and signs are up at intersections and help children to be more active.
District 66's Hillside Elementary is among the participating schools. Guidance counselor Kathie McGill said, "It's [about] health. Promoting good health, getting kids moving. Also, you just get kind of a team-building feel. Sometimes we sing the school song along the way."
McGill said they also review pedestrian safety strategies along the way, skills they need whether they walk to school or not. "I think it's a phenomenal thing," said Jasmine Freeman, the mother of a fourth-grader at the school. I think nowadays, kids are lacking the exercise."
Mother of second-grader Emily Kangas added, "I think it's great to instill these values at a young age." Her son, Grant was looking forward to walking from a drop-off point with a former teacher. She's among six staff members escorting children to school, serving as "walking school buses" from three different locations. They are all between a half-mile and a mile from school.
Fourth-grader Cody Betcher, who is normally driven to school, was looking forward to a day of walking. "I like talking to people, so you get to know new people and stuff."
Hillside Elementary has been participating in the movement for the past five years. International Walk to School Day has been in existence for 15 years.