Health district encourages schools to save the date, make a plan to participate in International Walk to School Day on Oct. 8

For more information, contact Kim Papich, SRHD Public Information Officer (509) 324-1539 or kpapich@srhd.org

SPOKANE, Wash. – Sept. 15, 2014 – Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD), along with its partners at Washington Bikes and Feet First, are working with several Spokane-area schools planning celebrations for International Walk to School Day (IWALK), coming up on Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014. With plenty of time still left, more schools are encouraged to create a participation plan and join in the Walk to School Day festivities. 

Walk to School events work to promote safer routes for walking and bicycling and emphasize the importance of closely-related issues, such as:

  1. Physical activity needs - children need an hour of physical activity per day—walking or biking to school can help. Childhood obesity is a serious health issue and in 2012, in Spokane County, approximately 25 percent of adolescents were either overweight or obese.
  2. Better concentration at school - evidence shows that children who are physically active on the way to school burn off some of their excess energy and are better able to focus in class.
  3. Learning safety skills - children learn road safety from adults who help them get safely to and from school.
  4. Decreased pollution and congestion – increasing the number of students who walk or bike helps reduce car idling and congestion around schools.
  5. Building connections – these events help develop new networks between families, schools and the broader community.

Whether it is a simple or elaborate celebration, several tools are available for schools that are interested in still planning an event, including a free, Sept. 17, 2014, IWALK training workshop in Spokane. From 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at Holmes Elementary, in room 145, attendees can speak with other local walk-to-school champions, plan out their events, and glean information from Safe Routes to School leaders from SRHD. Those interested in attending can email Mariah McKay, a public health educator for SRHD’s Healthy Communities program at mmckay@srhd.org.

There is also a toolkit that is part of Stickman Knows, Spokane’s first comprehensive road safety education campaign. The Stickman Knows School Toolkit gives the greater Spokane community access to materials and resources for planning a walk to school day event, including first-time tips, getting started guide, and steps for planning an event in just seven days. The site also offers many other resources for children, teachers, parents and the community that encourage healthy and safe walking, biking and driving behaviors around schools.

Media are invited to Holmes Elementary’s, 2600 W. Sharp Ave., celebration of the event, where the health district’s Stickman Knows mascot will be present and organizers will welcome parades of children with live music on school grounds.

Schools are encouraged to register their events in the Feet First IWALK Challenge for a chance to win prizes and recognition from Feet First, and to assist them in reaching their goal of 100 participating schools in 2014.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that only 13 percent of children walk to school nationally, compared with 66 percent in 1970. Obesity and lack of activity contribute to chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.

If you have questions about organizing an event, contact Mariah McKay, mmckay@srhd.org. More information is also available at www.srhd.org. SRHD’s website offers comprehensive, updated information about Spokane Regional Health District and its success in making Spokane a safer and healthier community. Become a fan of SRHD on Facebook to receive local safety and wellness tips. You can also follow us on Twitter @spokanehealth.


About International Walk to School Day

  • Walk to School Day was established in the United States in 1997 by the Partnership for a Walkable America.
  • In the United States, International Walk to School Day is expected to be celebrated at over 3,500 events at participating schools. U.S. walkers will join children and adults in 40 countries around the world.
  • Walk to School Day is an energizing event, reminding everyone of the simple joy of walking to school, the health benefits of regular activity, and the need for safe places to walk and bike.