Mayor Jean Stothert proclaimed October 10 as Walk to School Day in Omaha. On this day, kids, families, and schools across the Metro were encouraged to be active by walking, biking, or rolling to school.
Sacred Heart School participated as part of their Safe Routes to School project and took a 1-mile round trip walk down North 24th Street to visit the Great Plains Black History Museum. The museum works to preserve, celebrate and educate all people of the contributions and achievements of African Americans throughout the great plains of America. Museum board member Eric Ewing led an educational tour. Toward the end, Johnny Rodgers stopped in to return his Heisman trophy that he keeps on display at the museum. Johnny Rodgers played for the Nebraska Cornhuskers and won the Heisman Trophy in 1972 and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000.
Back at Sacred Heart, students received their new Safe Routes to Schools maps, as well as backpack reflectors. The maps encourage kids and their families to rethink how they get to school. Perhaps driving is required but a family could select a drop-off zone a couple of blocks away to allow the child a chance to get in some steps before starting their school day. Health experts recommend children should be physically active for 60 minutes a day, yet only half of Omaha metro area parents report their child meets this physical activity recommendation.
Walking is a form of active commuting that helps kids achieve increased physical activity, be exposed to fresh air, and reconnect with their neighborhood and community. Walking also reduces traffic which can alleviate safety concerns!