The annual Walk, Bike & Roll to school day was held on Wednesday, Oct. 12 and Riverbank Unified School District had significant participation. The organized event began at Castleberg Park before school and had over 100 participants including students, parents, teachers, advisors, and Riverbank City Council.
“It is an annual event that we like to promote to review the guidelines and rules to obey when walking or riding to school,” stated California Avenue Elementary Principal Erika Ramos. “Since we have so many of our students that walk to school, it is essential that we have these events that might serve as a reminder or introduction to the safety rules. This year, the event was very well attended, and the parents had positive and encouraging remarks about the event.”
They made their way to California Avenue Elementary walking, riding bikes, on scooters and skateboards. When they arrived to the school there were snacks, juice, books, and pencil cases available for students.
Riverbank Councilmember Darlene Barber-Martinez assisted in coordinating the event with Armando Nunez, Program/Grant Manager at CASA del Rio, Safe Kids Stanislaus County, Riverbank Police Services (RPS), and the City of Riverbank.
“I believe I started the first Walk to School event in 2014 at Crossroads Elementary,” said Martinez. “I think this was the largest participation that we have had in any one event for walk to school.”
There were several people at the early morning event like RPS Chief Ed Ridenour, Councilmember Rachel Hernandez, Assistant Superintendent, Laura Granger, Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Richard Tapia, and a very popular guest the Modesto Nuts mascot.
Last week at the City Council meeting Mayor Richard O’Brien presented Nunez a proclamation for Walk and Roll to School Day throughout Riverbank and encouraging everyone to promote the safety and health of children.
Ramos noted, “The parents not only walked their students to school, but they also stayed at the school to mingle with other families and community members.”
The national event not only brings awareness for safety on those pathways to school but also the health benefits, possible policy changes, new programs, as well as sidewalk and street improvements. The first National Walk & Roll to school was held in 1997 and to this day families throughout the country participate in this event.
“I participate because I think it is important to remind people that drive their cars in the school zones before and after school, to watch out for children,” expressed Martinez. “I also feel students need to be aware of their surroundings at all times. In addition, there are benefits to walking to school and to walk in groups if at all possible. We, as city leaders, have the responsibility to ensure sidewalks and roads are safe for walking. For instance, strategically placing crosswalks and no parking red zone curb painting to help with traffic congestion before and after school.”
Ramos explained that the participation was outstanding this year with not only people from the neighborhood attending the event but families from outside the area. They will host another event in the spring and look forward to even a bigger number of participants.
“The parents, along with myself, were elated with the number of participants this year,” remarked Ramos. “We had over double, if not triple the number of participants this year. We probably had about 150 parents that participated this year, and the students were excited to come to school.”