Clovis Mayor Drew Bessinger, Clovis Police Chief Curt Fleming and officials from Valley Children’s among others, showed up to Harlan Ranch early Wednesday to celebrate “National Walk to School Day”.
Students, families and local officials met just after 7:15 a.m. at Serenity Park in Harlan Ranch in Clovis for snacks, fun and of course, exercise. Around 75 to 100 people showed up to the event.
“We’re here to support healthy kids, improve the air and hopefully give parents an extra break in the morning,” Mayor Bessinger said. “The kids can walk to school and get some exercise in and if everybody can do better, it will be a great thing for the community.”
Other than the Clovis PD and parents/staff from Bud Rank, Producers Dairy Foods, Namaste for Compassion and San Joaquin Valley Air were also in attendance for the nation-wide event.
Producers Dairy Foods provided snacks for the attendees and Namaste for Compassion, a non-profit, gave out free yoga lessons to the Bud Rank students and a Clovis PD officer.
Although the event took place on a national level, the Bud Rank walk was parent led. Both the Bud Rank Parent Teacher Council and the National Walk to School Registry came together to put on the event for the first time at Bud Rank.
“We are just parents here at Bud Rank and we believe that we live in a very beautiful and walkable community. We also want to encourage our drivers to be safe, so that our students can be safe walking to school,” Jane Alvarado Banister, a Bud Rank parent volunteer said. “It’s all volunteer based and we just used whatever resources we had in our community.”
And, along with health and wellness, safety is also an important factor highlighted on “National Walk to School Day”.
“Whether people here have kids in Bud Rank, it’s important to just be the ears in morning if they hear or if they see something just to help keep everyone safe,” Jane Alvarado Banister said. “If we all do our part, this will be safer than it already is.”
Simran Kaur, a representative from Valley Children’s touched on the importance of child safety, but more importantly, the rates of childhood obesity and how that issue can be tackled.
“One of the things we like to support is physical activity and walking to school is a great way to promote that and a way to reduce obesity in our children,” Kaur said. “Safety is a very big concern for Valley Children’s and so for us, it is really important that we have safe routes to school implemented in and around our schools.
“As kids are walking to school, it’s important to have safe sidewalks, traffic lights working and crosswalks where kids can make it across busy streets safely.”
Jessica Sanchez, Vice Principal of Bud Rank explained that Harlan Ranch is big on walking, running and exercise in general. She also pointed to Clovis Unified School District’s commitment to; mind, body and spirit as a factor in the community’s response.
“It’s fun for the kids to be able to walk to school, instead of the hustle and bustle of trying to get out of your parents car, but it’s fun to see everyone arrive to school with a positive attitude and happy,” Sanchez said. “Our school itself has been a soccer/cross country/track school first and these are a group of runners and walkers — our kids are great at that
“It’s great to have the support from the district, the police and all the people who came out this morning to support this.”