Walking School Bus Provides Opportunity to Become Involved

Blue Zones founder Dan Buettner address attendees to the Oskaloosa Blue Zone kick-off event.

Blue Zones founder Dan Buettner address attendees to the Oskaloosa Blue Zone kick-off event.

by Carissa Osborn

Are you looking for a new way to become involved in your community? Blue Zones Oskaloosa and United Way have an excellent program called Walking School Bus, which provides just that sort of opportunity for community members and children alike. You may be questioning what the walking school bus is and Natalie Spray, Blue Zones Project Manager, says it is as simple as it sounds.

The Walking School Bus (WSB) is available for Oskaloosa Elementary students every Wednesday morning running from March 23 to May 18. The WSB provides an opportunity for students of OES to access a safe and fun mode of transportation to school and encourages moving naturally and making new friends. The program was implemented in Oskaloosa in September 2014. Students can be dropped off in the Lacey parking lot between 7:20 and 7:29 am. The route runs from the Lacey Recreation Complex to the elementary school and leaves from the parking lot at 7:30 am.

The benefits of the WSB include: allowing the children an opportunity to burn off extra energy before class; making new friends; and having fun prior to school starting in the morning. Students who get physical activity before class are more on task and can be especially beneficial to students who have trouble concentrating. The WSB covers about a mile which also fulfills one third of the daily recommended activity. Natalie says the WSB can also help children “to walk safely, identify safe routes to school and the benefits of walking. It also raises awareness of how walkable a community is and where improvements can be made.”

The program is supported by the Oskaloosa Elementary School, as well as parent volunteers like Natalie. Community members can become involved by acting as chaperones for the WSB; several local businesses are already doing that. Some businesses that participate are: Crisis Intervention Services, Mahaska Health Partnership, Clow, Bank Iowa, Mahaska, William Penn University students, and MidWest One.

Anyone interested in information about the WSB can contact Emily Brown of United Way at 673-6043.

Posted by on May 8 2016. Filed under Local News, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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