Friday, October 14, 2011

Safe Routes Philly Helps Out A School In Crisis

Last week, two students at Carnell Elementary in Northeast Philadelphia were hit by vehicles in separate incidents. Thankfully both students are okay, having been released from the hospital the same or next day. Anytime a child is hit by a car, it strikes a resonant chord of alarm in a community. Twice in one week, however, and it's hard to sit idle and dismiss the accidents as just that.

We have a relationship with Carnell Elementary through our Safe Routes Philly education program. Carnell teachers implemented Safe Routes Philly's bicycle and pedestrian safety lesson programming last year, and preparations have been made to repeat the lessons this year. In response to the two injured students, the school principal, Ms. Carmen Garcia Collins, contacted us. She wanted a date ASAP for a school-wide focus on pedestrian safety. Could we help?

Monday the school was closed for Columbus Day. Tuesday our Community Representative Emily Boerner conducted seven assemblies at Carnell focusing on pedestrian safety. The entire school, all 1,600 students, attended. Emily fashioned the assemblies after the assemblies Safe Routes Philly conducts at schools without the staff resources to implement our programming. Students participated in call-and-response songs and watched videos illustrating safe and risky pedestrian behavior. Our other two Community Reps, Megan Rosenbach and Steve Taylor, did shift duty working the AV equipment.

Thousands of Philadelphia schoolchildren walk or bike to and from school, an activity which provides important daily exercise. But it's important they do so safely. Carnell's response to two accidents in its community will help prevent future accidents, and reflects the importance of a school administration which cares how students get to and from school. Getting them there safely via walking or biking helps deliver positive health outcomes for those children and fosters a sense of community around a school. To learn more about the safety and active transportation resources Safe Routes Philly can offer your school, contact our Community Representatives.