International Walk to School Day is Oct. 7, and several schools across Fort Worth took part in what's becoming an annual tradition. But health leaders want such walks to become the rule not an exception.
For the Brown family of east Fort Worth their morning routine before school usually doesn't involve getting ready to walk, but it did on Wednesday.
"She wants to walk to school, but like I say, they be driving too fast on Miller [Street]," said parent Vicki Brown.
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A safe path is often an obstacle to children walking to school these days, but it's something the city of Fort Worth, the Fort Worth Independent School District and the health initiative Blue Zones hopes to remedy. The organizations want to not just find safe ways for students to get to school but also to make such behaviors permanent.
To take part in the CC Moss Elementary School walk, Vicki Brown walked with her daughters, Kelsie and Jakayla – along with other neighborhood kids – to the closest crossing guard several blocks away before crossing over toward the school.
Hundreds of students at the school took part in the now second year of this Blue Zones-led walk. It's something students are already understanding.
"If you're big, and I'm not saying that you are, but if you're big and you need to exercise that's a good thing to do," Kelsie, a fifth grader, said of walking.
Students were greeted across the street from school by new Fort Worth ISD Superintendent Kent Scribner, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, Tarrant County Commissioner Roy Brooks, school board member Christene Moss, along with students from TCU's nursing program and Tarleton State's social work program.
It's an effort Scribner says shows how much the community cares about their children's education and well-being.
"This is a great example of adults looking at our students as investments and supporting their future, getting them to school safely and everyday," Scribner said.
But the effort to get kids to walk to school more regularly doesn't end on this day. TCU nursing students help lead weekly Wednesday walks to school to encourage the practice. And the hope is by getting parents involved they'll help find good, safe ways for kids to get to school.
"It's important students walk often to school," said Suzanne Duda, Blue Zones Fort Worth vice president. "We know that students that walk to school arrive ready to learn."
And with seven schools taking part in Blue Zones-led or encouraged walks this week, the hope is more students and parents will do the walks more regularly and the city will see the impact with healthier residents now and long in the future.