Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
University of California
Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Walk or ride a bike to school to start the day with physical activity

In the pre-dawn chill, UC CalFresh nutrition educators were at McNally Park in Madera Oct. 4 preparing for dozens of kids who were invited to come early for fresh fruit, active outdoor games and the opportunity to walk to school as a group. The event marked International Walk to School Day, part of a year-round movement for walkable communities and safe routes to school.

Walking (or bike-riding) to school provides benefits to the children and the community. Safe pedestrians and bicyclists start the day with physical activity, reduce traffic congestion around schools, and cut pollution.

Children select a healthy snack before their early morning walk.

UC CalFresh educators walked with students heading to Virginia Lee Rose Elementary School, Madera's newest elementary school, which opened this fall. The UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program, offered by UC Cooperative Extension in Madera County, works in partnership with schools and teachers to provide a comprehensive nutrition education program to students. Since Virginia Lee is new, the walk-to-school event offered an opportunity for UC CalFresh educators to meet students and interact with teachers.

UC CalFresh manager Karina Macias, left, leads the Virginia Lee students along with teachers Carolyn Lozano and Aubrey Rutherford (left to right, holding the school bus banner.)

Teaching healthful eating habits is just one of the UC CalFresh goals in local schools.

"We provide a comprehensive approach for healthy schools, focusing on policy, systems and environmental changes as well as teaching healthy eating," said Karina Macias, UC CalFresh manager for Fresno and Madera counties. "Access to a save route to school gives students an opportunity to increase physical activity. It is a component of a healthy lifestyle that we encourage."

UC CalFresh nutrition program coordinator Carissa Villanueva supervises a bean bag toss activity at McNally Park before the walk to school.
At a rally following the walk, Macias encouraged the children to make a habit of physical activity and eating healthy, and encouraged teachers to enroll in the program to continue promoting healthy messages to students in their classrooms. Madera Mayor Andy Medellin led the students in a spirit-lifting chant before they headed off to class.

Madera's annual Walk to School Day event was organized by UC CalFresh and the Madera County Public Health Department SNAP-Ed Program. 

Madera Mayor Andy Medellin walked to school with children Oct. 4


Students arrive at Virginia Lee Rose Elementary School.
The Fresno/Madera UC CalFresh team poses with Virginia Lee Rose Elementary School principal Lisa Fernandez (wearing blue cap) and Madera Mayor Andy Medellin.


Posted on Thursday, October 5, 2017 at 1:28 PM

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