As part of Safe Routes Philly’s plans for 2016, the Bicycle Coalition’s Waffiyyah Murray met with students and administrators at Sullivan Elementary School in Northeast Philadelphia on Friday, to discuss biking and walking activities for students in the upcoming year.
Safe Routes Philly—a project of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia that promotes walking and biking as a fun and safe form of transportation for elementary school students—worked with nine schools to put together 2015’s Bike To School Day, in which more than 500 Philadelphia students across several Philly neighborhoods participated. Murray works hand-in-hand with local schools, teachers and administrators to teach safe bicycling, assess the safety of the area around a particular school, and provide proper equipment for each school.
Equipment was the first aspect Murray dealt with at Sullivan on December 11. The school’s yard is a wide open space, but has very few amenities, other than a single basketball hoop. Safe Routes Philly’s relationship with the city means she can help a school get free bike racks, so she began her assessment looking for a proper spot, on school property, and within seeing distance of one of the campus’ security cameras.
After going through the yard, Murray met with Rielle, a 5th Grader who heads up the school’s Student Ambassadors. Rielle told us as the dean of the Student Ambassadors, she gets to assess problems in the school, update teachers and administrators on detention policy, and plan fun things on campus.
As such, she and Waffiyyah spoke of putting together a Bike Safety Class for students, as well as a bike ride with students and a Bike Rodeo, the latter of which is a community event that gets kids riding and learning about road safety and bike handling at different stations, each teaching a different part of bike safety.
Though Rielle told us she would be leading the event, she did not yet know how to ride a bike—though she’s been working with her dad on it.
Tracey Mitchell-Lawrence, the assistant principal who put together the Student Ambassador program at Sullivan, said the goal of the program is to make the community feel good about the students attending the school, and feel good about their community school in general. And part of feeling good is a student body who have fun, promote healthy habits, have a proper mind-body alignment and have an impact on achievement for themselves, and for their community.
“Many of the kids here don’t ride bikes,” she said. “I want our kids to be active, healthy citizens in society, and to stay engaged.”
Topics: Safe Routes Philly