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Forum will discuss Safe Routes to School; parents strongly encouraged to attend

CHARLEVOIX – Safe Routes To School (SRTS) proponents are hoping the program's four E's will earn all A's with parents, students and the entire community.

The SRTS Action Plan – whose elements include Education, Encouragement, Enforcement and Engineering – is to be presented during a forum at the Charlevoix Middle School Rayder Room on Monday, November 19 from 5:30 until 6:30pm, and parent involvement is strongly encouraged. SRTS is a strategy recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to encourage children to walk and bike to school, and to ensure their communities are equipped with carefully-planned routes and other resources to help them do it safely. It was made possible in Charlevoix through a grant received earlier this year from the Charlevoix County Community Foundation. The purpose of the forum will be to educate the community about SRTS objectives, development and implementation, according to Jim Harrington, the Building Healthy Communities Consultant for the Health Department. The forum is open to anyone.

“Charlevoix Middle School has completed its walking and biking audits,” Harrington reported. “The school has also completed surveys of students and parents on walking and biking behaviors and attitudes, which will be shared at the Forum. Our action plan calls for us to educate the public, encourage students and parents to participate, enforce controls that will keep kids safe, and engineer new solutions to overcome obstacles to these healthy behaviors.”

Principal Travis Garrett said the process, to date, has been lengthy but worthwhile. “I am excited to be moving forward with our Safe Routes To School grant,” said Garrett, “and to hopefully be able to provide a safer environment for kids who want to walk to and from school on a daily basis.”

SRTS Forum attendees will be treated to refreshments and a healthy snack. For more information on the forum or the SRTS program, contact Jim Harrington at (989) 619-4204 or

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties.