Joan L. Boiko
Thanks to a grant to a state-owned Riverside County agency, parents who collect student meals this month from schools in Desert Hot Springs are receiving pedestrian and bicycle safety gear for their children. children.
Riverside University Health Systems ‘Public Health Safe Routes for All Program’ (SRFA) applied to the Caltrans-funded Active Transportation Program (ATP) three years ago, and received a three-year grant in 2020 to fund equipment safety for children in Desert Hot Springs.
“SRFA works in schools to educate students and families about the importance of pedestrian and cyclist safety,” said Valerie Guerrero, program coordinator for Riverside University Health System – Public Health. “As schools are not meeting for in-person instruction at this time, PSUSD nutrition services have enabled SRFA to leverage meal distribution meals to reach families. “
Parents who come to pick up their meals at one of the elementary schools in Desert Hot Springs or Desert Hot Springs High on Wednesdays in February have or will receive safety kits that include materials including a coloring book, a reflective object, a lanyard and educational materials for parents. For high school students, parents also receive information about the “Active Transportation Ambassador” program where students can learn to teach road safety to young children, set up a mini “Safety City”, properly fit a bicycle helmet and promote fun physical activity. Interested students can call (951) 358-7171 to register for the next virtual training. .
Guerrero noted that families who do not collect school meals will receive pedestrian and cyclist safety information through their school announcements.
“Once schools resume in-person teaching, SRFA will be able to offer in-person education and activities such as walk-to-school days, safety workshops and bike rodeos.” , Guerrero said. “Plus, families can follow our program on our social media accounts for updates and upcoming activities. “
The grant to Desert Hot Springs is $ 500,000 for educational materials and activities over the next three years, although some of the efforts that accompany the grant will benefit all schools in the district, Guerrero said.
“To have an impact on all school sites, SRFA is working alongside the Palm Springs Unified School District Nutrition Services to update the District’s Wellness Policy to include Safe Routes to Schools language that will affect all school sites in the district, ”Guerrero said. “National campaigns such as National Walk to School Day and Bike to School Day are also included at all Palm Springs One School sites.”
Joan Boiko is the Communications and Community Outreach Coordinator for the Palm Springs Unified School District. She can be reached at [email protected] or (760) 883-2701, ext. 2