Our education team has just wrapped its busiest season ever. Over the course of the Spring, we set records for nearly every metric!
We served nearly 3000 students this semester, through 140 cohorts of BLAST (Bicycle Lessons and Safety Training), Earn-A-Bike, or Bike Club at 24 schools in 9 districts across the metro. New sites include Luff Elementary and William Southern Elementary in Independence, Eugene Ware Elementary in KCK, Northeast Middle in KCMO, Washington Elementary in Olathe, and Antioch Middle in Gladstone.
Six hundred students went home with helmets, 144 students earned their own bikes, and 391 students learned how to ride a bike for the very first time which is (you guessed it!) a new record. Additionally, each of these brand new riders started with a foundation in road etiquette and safety.
In Kansas City, Kansas, the Walking School Bus program had high participation this semester! Nine schools maintained active walking groups, including Caruthers, Eugene Ware, Frank Rushton, Grant New Chelsea, New Stanley, William Allen White, with Oak Grove & Midland Trail in Turner (USD 202). Caruthers staff led two routes with smaller groups, while larger groups at New Stanley & Grant maintained over 35 students! More than half of these groups also chose to walk through the winter months, setting a record of 17 weeks walking!
Another highlight from the semester was New Chelsea’s WSB group receiving the Champions for Health Photo Contest award from KC Healthy Kids. This provided the school with a grant to supply incentive items to encourage walking participation from more staff and students. With progress being made on various sidewalk projects and educating students through our new pedestrian safety curriculum, the students of USD 500 are becoming safer and more active. Much expansion is headed for Safe Routes to School Wyandotte County and we’re excited to see what’s next!
Two long-time instructors, Andy Thies and Nicole Fitzgerald, will be leaving the education team as they pursue other opportunities in Washington and New Mexico. Andy brought innovation and creativity to many of our safety courses as well as helped film, edit and produce our amazing Ride Smart videos. Nicole always brought smiles and helped improve our curriculums with her constructive critical feedback. She also strengthened our partnership with Rosedale Development Association by pairing our earn-a-bike program with their summer youth employment program, thus increasing opportunities for youth to have access to transportation for work. BikeWalkKC will miss you both so much and we are sending you our best wishes!
Congratulations to the entire education team on a big job well done and for making a difference in our communities. Thank you to our volunteers, donors, and sponsors who help to make all of this possible.
You can help keep these programs rolling by becoming a member, volunteering, or donating funds or your gently used bikes. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how you can make a difference in your own neighborhood or community.