10 Dearborn schools participating in walk and bike to school contest

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Many elementary and middle school students in Dearborn can look forward to participating in a fun, friendly competition to earn a chance to win cool prizes just by walking or riding their bikes to classes under a new contest encouraging physical activity spearheaded by Michigan Safe Routes to School (SRTS).

Students at 10 selected Dearborn Public Schools will be able to participate in a “Walk and Roll to School” contest beginning Sept. 20, with a celebratory ceremony set for Friday, Oct 29.

The exciting program is made possible through a grant from the Michigan Fitness Foundation, awarded after being pursued by a coalition of Dearborn institutions focused on children’s well-being. The coalition comprises the City of Dearborn, Dearborn Public Schools, Beaumont’s Healthy Dearborn Coalition, LAHC and the University of Michigan-Dearborn. UM-Dearborn is the actual recipient of the grant and will be administering its details.

The grant is being used to pay for prizes and stipends for physical education teachers, and program coordinators.

The participating schools are:
• McDonald Elementary
• Salina Intermediate
• Salina Elementary
• Howard Elementary
• Lindbergh Elementary
• Haigh Elementary
• Oakman Elementary
• McCullough – Unis School
• O.L. Smith Middle School
• Whitmore-Bolles Elementary

The schools selected were intended to represent all areas of the city and are in close proximity to the streets used for the Dearborn Healthy Streets program. It is hoped that eventually all schools will have a chance to participate, and students at any school can still take a shot at riding or walking.

“The ultimate goal is to encourage health and physical activity among our students,” said Ryan Lazar from Dearborn Public Schools, who is helping to coordinate the program. “An added benefit is that it alleviates vehicular traffic in areas around school, making the streets safer and less congested.”

Students will log how many days per week they walked or rolled to school, and the school with the highest amount of participation among their students will be selected to win prizes. One student from that school will be awarded a new bicycle. A second school and student will also be selected at random to be given the same prize. Participation prizes such as helmets and water bottles will also be awarded. In addition, bike racks will be provided to two schools based on need.

The schools are expected to begin distributing sign-up and information sheets to students beginning Monday, Sept. 13. Interested families are advised to keep an eye out for those.

Those who cannot ride or bike to school can also qualify by engaging in those activities on their own time. Details will be provided by schools.

SRTS is a program managed by the Michigan Department of Transportation and supported by the Michigan Fitness Foundation. The program’s aim is to encourage K-8 students to walk and bike to school; to make walking and bicycling to school more accessible and appealing; and to facilitate planning, development and implementation of activities that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption and air pollution around elementary and middle schools. For more information about SRTS, visit www.saferoutesmichigan.org.

Press release provided by the City of Dearborn