100 Bicycles for our Area Schools!
December 2015 Update: Turns out that bikes don’t do much good for students if they can’t be kept at the school where they need to be used. Waterman Elementary and Thomas Harrison Middle Schools both needed a place to store their bicycles as they were completely out of space. The Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition came to the rescue and purchased a shed for Waterman elementary and contributed $1,000 to Thomas Harrison to help them purchase their own shed. Read about the gift.
Did you know that our area has a robust Safe Routes to School program? Thanks to the help of Sentara RMH Community Health SVBC member, Nathan Barge is our local Safe Routes to School Coordinator. In addition to the Safe Routes to School Program, we are very fortunate to have Becky Johnston also working at RMH Sentara Community Health to tackle childhood obesity. Becky works with the Safe Routes to School Program, SRTS by working to reduce and prevent childhood obesity. Schools participating in the SRTS program encourage students to walk or bike to school by applying for grants to help build sidewalks, bike paths and other pedestrian-friendly infrastructure. In addition, there are numerous encouragement programs to increase participation, walking school buses are one option where our community has had great success.
Recently, the program was able to purchase nearly 100 bicycles for area schools with the goal of having a robust fleet of bicycles in every school whether in the city of Harrisonburg or Rockingham County. This is BIG news for introducing all students to bicycles through physical education programs in our area schools. The SVBC is very excited to work with Nathan and Becky as they continue to encourage biking and walking to school and as a critical part of a healthy and active lifestyle to combat the unsettling rise of childhood obesity. We look forward to increase bicycling and walking in our area schools by continuing to strengthen our partnerships with the SRTS program.
“We are excited to place bikes in all the elementary schools through the VDOT Safe Routes to School grant. Nathan Barge and I will be assisting the physical education teachers in implementing bicycling programs in the schools with the goal of increasing student competency and safety skills. Helmets will be provided for all of the bike programs as well.”