You might see more students out walking Wednesday morning than usual. It’s “International Walk to School Day” and thousands are expected to take part throughout Riverside County.
Several schools from valley districts are supporting the initiative to promote healthier lifestyles.
The annual event is part of a worldwide effort to celebrate the many health benefits of walking and biking to school and encouraging families to park the minivan for a morning and try out some healthy changes that might make a lasting impact.
Parents and volunteers are going to be coordinating “walking school buses” of groups walking together to create a fun, social experience for everyone.
“International Walk to School Day” also kicks off a year-long effort to create sustainable walking and biking programs that will not only improve fitness but also the air quality and traffic flow around schools.
The event is sponsored by Riverside County Safe Routes to School Program and by a combination of school districts, public agencies, police departments, city governments and community organizations.
“This is just one day, but we are hopeful the community will see the benefits of walking and biking to school and make it an everyday habit,” said Kim Saruwatari, director for Riverside University Health System – Public Health (RUHS-PH), which coordinates the program locally. “It’s the healthy choice instead of driving to school.”
In the United States, International Walk to School Day is expected to include more than 5,000 events across all 50 states. Walkers from the U.S. will join children and adults in 40 countries around the world.