The Illinois Department of Transportation has announced that Illinois schools will join others throughout the world to celebrate International Walk to School Day on Wednesday, Oct. 12. Gov. JB Pritzker also has proclaimed the day “Illinois Walk and Roll to School Day” to support green transportation practices and a healthy lifestyle for children.
“I am thrilled that, once again, Illinois schools are celebrating International Walk to School Day – where our students will join others from around the globe in unity on October 12,” said Gov. Pritzker. “This is the kind of annual event that not only promotes health and fitness, but also the importance of safeguarding our climate and our planet as a whole. I wish our families, educators, and young people a lovely International Walk to School Day – and here’s to many more to come.”
Schools throughout Illinois are participating in the annual event. Heading into this week, 122 schools in Illinois have registered. Last year, Illinois schools hosted 187 Walk and Roll to School Day events throughout the state.
International Walk to School Day provides an opportunity for schools to ensure kids have safe routes to school. The event also encourages students to improve their own health and the health of the environment by walking or rolling to school instead of traveling by private vehicles, which contributes to traffic congestion and air pollution. As an added benefit, the event builds connections between families, schools and the broader community.
International Walk to School Day was established in 2000 when the United States joined Canada and Great Britain for the inaugural event. It began as a simple idea – children, parents, teachers and local officials walking to school together on a designated day.
For more information about International Walk to School Day and to find events in your area, visit www.walkbiketoschool.org.
“The benefits of walking or rolling to school cannot be overstated,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “The regular physical activity gives students a leg up on fitness, while keeping the car in the garage at home helps the environment. It’s a win-win situation. I encourage every family throughout Illinois to give it a try this October.”
Earlier this year, Gov. Pritzker and IDOT announced $12.3 million in grants for local projects that will help boost the health and safety of children via safer walking and biking routes to school through Safe Routes to School. The program is funding 57 projects selected from 102 applications received from municipalities and schools across the state.