Wednesday is National Walk and Bike to School Day.
Communities across the country plan to either walk or bike to promote safer routes to school.
Here in Texas, more than 150 schools across the state have signed up.
The national celebration also comes as school districts across here in North Texas face a major problem – there aren't enough school crossing guards.
In DFW alone, there is a dire need for at least 100 crossing guards. Some districts are having to turn to police to fill in at crossing sections that have no guards at all.
There’s also a desperate need for alternates to fill in for those crossing guards who cannot work a shift or get sick.
“I've been doing this for 14 years and it's never been this hard,” said Kimberly Craig, operations manager for All City Management Services, the largest crossing guard company in the United States. "And the children shouldn't have to be afraid to walk to school. That's what's happening, we have many crosswalks that unfortunately do not have crossing guards and these little guys are crossing the streets by themselves."
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ACMS is also the main provider of crossing guards for the biggest districts in North Texas.
Cities facing the biggest shortage include Irving, Richardson, Carrollton, and Grand Prairie.
Craig said turnover has been high because of none other than COVID-19 and all the labor shortage issues that have come with the pandemic.
But the company is hoping retirees, college students and even remote workers wanting to make some extra cash consider applying.
Pay ranges between $10 to $15 an hour. Guards work just an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon.
For Dwaine Hicks, a crossing guard in Fort Worth, the biggest benefit for him is the feeling of giving back to his community, he said.
"Not all of them but some of them have issues when they're coming from the house. I just like to talk to them and try to cheer them up,” he said of working with the kids for the past four years. “Strangers come up to me and let me know they appreciate me and what I'm doing for their kids. A lot of times it ain't about the money. It's about the appreciation."
To fill out an application, click here or call 800–540 -9290.
“The biggest benefit is your heart," said Craig. "If you have a heart and a passion for this work, you’re giving back to your community, you’re helping these kiddos.“