Tag Archives: New Jersey Walking School Bus App

October is Walk to School Month

29 Sep

October is Walk to School Month! Walk to School Month is a great reason to plan fun and exciting walk to school events in your community. Communities and schools can use Walk to School Month as a step toward changing community culture and creating better options for getting around that are safer, healthier, and also fun and rewarding. In 2009, only 13% of children 5 – 14 years old in the United States, walked or biked to school. Walking to school can be a great way for children to get the recommended 60 minutes of activity a day.

October 4 is International Walk to School Day which means that instead of taking the bus or being driven by Mom or Dad, you will likely see more students walking to and from school.  Walk to School Day is a global event where communities from over 40 countries walk and bike to school.

Let your student discover that the journey to school can start with their own two feet!  Here’s why that’s a great idea:

  • Get Exercise: Walking is a great opportunity for children to get the physical activity they need.
  • Get Outdoors: Walking and biking to school is a great way to get outside and enjoy the fresh air.
  • Help the Environment: Replacing car trips with walking or bicycling can reduce pollution from emissions, making it easier to breathe.
  • Make Your Community a Better Place: Walking and biking to school helps reduce congestion, especially around schools. Your neighborhood becomes safer, quieter, and friendlier and you get to know your neighbors and your neighborhood.
  • It’s FunMost importantly, walking to school is fun!  It can be a great way for parents to spend more time with their children or for students to start their day off on a high note by having fun with their friends before even getting to school.
  • It’s Good for Children: Walking is a great way to get to school alert and ready to learn.
  • It’s Easy to Organize Parent Led Walks:with our new NJ Walking School Bus App http://www.gmtma.org/pg-schools-walking-school-bus.php you can   search by elementary school for existing walking groups, create walking groups and invite neighbors to join, plan walks to and from school, assign parent leaders to walk with students, group text within the app, and alert parents when students have arrived safely at school.

Download the app:

iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/new-j…

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/de…

GMTMA offers many other Safe Routes to School programs. To see how GMTMA can help you to make the trip to school safer, healthier and more fun in your community, contact us today at 609-452-1491 or email us at tma@gmtma.org. 

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Meet the Step Into Spring Contest Winners

17 Jun

Greater Mercer TMA congratulates Hopewell Elementary School and its walking school bus group for winning the “Step into Spring” contest. The group used the NJ Walking School Bus App to organize walks with their children to and from school. Together they have completed a total of 591 trips, walked 379 miles, burned 37,878 calories, and reduced 160,224 grams of CO2 emissions. “We found the app easy to use and my son loves walking to school with his friends” said Susan P., one of the parents who walked with the group. They will receive a $100 gift card for the group, reflective umbrellas for parents and reflective drawstrings backpacks for students. Additionally Hopewell Elementary School will receive $250 to be used for safe walking and biking programs.

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Left to right: Principal David Friedrich, Jed K., Sheila R., Susan P., Sara K.

We want to thank all the parents who used the app and organized walks. Special thanks to Sara K., Sheila R. and Susan P., the parents who organized the winning group and to the principal of the Hopewell Elementary School, David Friedrich, for being strong supporters of walking and biking programs. As the NJ Department of Transportation’s designated regional coordinator for Safe Routes to School efforts, Greater Mercer TMA works to keep children in Mercer and Ocean counties healthy by encouraging them to stay active through walking and biking to school and offering safety education.

Summer break is almost here, but the NJ Walking School Bus App will still be available in September. There are many walking groups to join or parents can create their own groups and organize walks to and from school.

The app and tutorial are available at www.gmtma.org.

Step it Up

11 Sep

The US Surgeon General issued a Call to Action this week, asking Americans to #StepitUp and  start walking more.

This Call to Action is needed and is well timed to coincide with Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and Healthy Aging Month …and coincidentally with the launch of GMTMA’s walk to school smarthphone app.

CTA_Infographic_community_walkability_FINAL

According to the Surgeon General, “one out of every two U.S. adults is living with a chronic disease, such as heart disease, cancer, or diabetes.” Healthfinder.gov states that one in three children in the U.S is overweight or obese and at risk of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.  All of these health issues can be prevented with regular activity, but many adults and many children do not meet the guidelines for daily physical activity.

The most popular form of physical activity is walking and it can be done with a purpose, such as getting to work, to the train station, running errands, or walking to school.

Walking has many benefits for your health and your community.   More walkers improve safety in your neighborhood, slow down traffic, reduce pollution, and encourage social interaction.  Walkable communities are making it easier for older adults to age in place, and for young children to walk to school.

So what can be done to improve walkability in your community?  And how can GMTMA help?

  1. Make it easier for students to walk to from school, and one of the report’s recommendations is to “Implement Safe Routes to School or similar walk-to-school programs.”

GMTMA’s  Safe Routes to School coordinators can implement walk-to-school programs, and we have recently launched a free app to help busy parents set up walking groups to school.  We can also do walkability audits, school travel plans and assist with infrastructure grants. Just call us, we are happy to help.

  1. The report also recommends implementing work programs and policies that promote walking. Employers around Mercer and Ocean counties, your TMA can help with that, just call us. Employers that work with us and implement programs and policies to promote walking, biking, carpooling, and reducing congestion and pollution, get recognition with the New Jersey Smart Workplaces award. Check out our current awardees.

These are just a couple of the recommendations found in the Surgeon General’s Call to Action, which is available here.

Bottom line, we have to start doing something about our health and the health of our communities and walking is a good start. Start walking,  get to know the people in your community, start the conversation, talk about changes that can be made to improve walkability, and who knows, next step could be walking or biking to work.

And as usual if you have any questions or comments, or you want to be a guest blogger, please contact us.