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Kaiser Permanente and  Kennedy ES STEM Host Walk To School Day


By Tammye McDuff

Kaiser Permanente joined Kennedy STEM Academy bright and early October 14th to support the schools’ Walking Club.

Beginning at 7:45 am, Kennedy students and parents gathered for a community walk and assembly.

Crossing guards escorted the group throughout the walk promoting traffic and pedestrian safety procedures. Volunteers, pharmacists, and administration from Kaiser Permanente joined the walk to discuss nutrition and fitness.

This event supports ABCUSD’s Healthy Students Initiative and Stay Alive! Stay Alert! Pedestrian Safety Campaign as part of the International Walk to School Day Celebration.

International Walk to School Day is a global event that involves communities from more than 40 countries walking and biking to school. It began in 1997 as a one-day event. Over time, this event has become part of a movement for year-round safe routes to school and a celebration each October. Today, schools across America, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico participate every October.

Kennedy STEM principal, Melissa Valentine noted this is the fourth year of promoting a walk to school celebration,” We encourage parents to park further down the block and walk their children to the campus.  This not only alleviates traffic congestion, but adds more physical activity to the child’s day.”

The Lakewood Sheriff’s Station was on site to promote different ways to get to school and safety tips for parents. The walk culminated with a health and nutrition assembly. Walking participants received an ‘It’s Cool To Walk To School’ sticker and District Wellness Promotion Specialist Monica Corona handed out trail mix and cookbooks with healthy snack recipes.

Kennedy has the Walking Club, which meets every morning before school and the Hundred Mile Club. The later club has between 40 to 50 members, with the goal of walking one hundred miles during the school year. Students walk several laps around the blacktop and then receive a punch card. Last year five students received special recognition for reaching the 100 mile goal.

Over 200 teachers, staff, children and volunteers participated this year, “This is a wonderful event to get the kids up and active,” says Valentine “We are so very grateful for the support of Kaiser.”

Dr. Mary Sieu, Superintendent, ABCUSD commented, “We deeply appreciate Kaiser Permanente’s support of our Walk to School Day at Kennedy ES. Their collaborative partnership with ABCUSD has made a significant difference on improving the health and wellness goals for our students, staff and families. We have expanded the Walk to School Day throughout the District as a result of the efforts started at Kennedy ES.”

Kaiser Permanente annually sponsors the ABC, Downey and Whittier school districts by supplying water and fresh fruit after each walk.