More than 1,000 students, parents, and community members took part in the annual International Walk to School Day, also known as iWalk on Wednesday.
The day is part of the city’s effort to create a healthy and sustainable community. According to Moscow Mayor Nancy Chaney, International Walk to School Day is an important event that really makes an impact in the community.
“Children, their siblings, their parents, lots of people come out who normally would not walk to school,” Chaney said. “We have the walking, school buses, children on scooters and bicycles, this event is festive and fun and gives children a sense that it’s normal to walk to school. That’s a great thing for our community.”
IWalk is part of a greater community effort to get people walking and just one event of many sponsored by the city throughout the year.
“We have an event called Fill the Racks that happens in the fall,” Chaney said. “We had a bike to work or school day and now it has morphed to Bike for Life, which continues throughout the year, which is incredible.”
IWalk is a community effort and depends heavily on both teacher and parent volunteers. On street corners throughout Moscow on Thursday , PTA members could be seen volunteering and helping children walk to school safely. Moscow resident Candy Crewall took to the streets early in the morning to contribute to the cause.
“I want to be as involved in the school as I can be, a lot of kids came out this morning and it’s a great event to encourage walking to school and making sure they do it safely,” Crewall said.
According to Nancy Chaney, these efforts have gained Moscow recognition from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare making it a statewide example.
“Moscow is being held up as the model for other communities around the state,” Chaney said. “These walk to school programs along with other community efforts have made a great impact. It’s community planning, where we connect sidewalks and put in curb drops, bike trails that connect neighborhoods. All of these things helps kids get places safely. It’s a whole package deal and everyone benefits.”
Multiple Moscow schools took part in iWalk, such as Moscow Middle School and the Palouse Prairie School of Expeditionary Learning.
“We give out pencils and stickers, along with other swag, things our students can use that also encourages walking to school,” said Donna Mills, a member of Palouse Prairie School’s wellness program. “We also fill the boot, where students fill a boot with extra change, and students enter a raffle where the winner decides which local charity the money in the boot goes to.”
Other events such as the Polar Walk, a chillier version of iWalk hosted in the winter, will take place periodically throughout the year.
Justin Ackerman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.