EAST JORDAN – 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 East Jordan Middle School Library on Wednesday, June 12 from 6:00 until 7:30pm, 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 East Jordan through a grant 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 Safe Routes to School Consultant for the Health Department. The forum is open to anyone.
“East Jordan Elementary and Middle Schools have completed their walking audits,” Harrington reported. “The schools have 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.”
East Jordan Middle School Principal Matt Stevenson 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 Stevenson, “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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. For more information, visit www.nwhealth.org.