Walking together for a healthier and safer community

25 September 2018

Walking School Bus Research has found that becoming physically active at a young age leads to developing long-term healthy habits and continuing an active lifestyle later in life. Jennifer Wilson and Sandra Ward both lead active lifestyles and wanted to pass that on to their children.

When the opportunity came up to help start a Walking School Bus at Sandhills Public School in Kitchener, Ontario, the school their children attend, they were eager to lend a hand and encourage local children to be more active by walking to school.

The Walking School Bus is a group of elementary school students, living in the same area, who walk to school together under the supervision of a trained parent or community volunteer. Like a regular school bus, the Walking School Bus follows a planned and safe route with scheduled stops.

A Walking School Bus can help children reach the recommended amount of daily physical activity by providing an extra 15 to 20 minutes of activity each day.

The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) believes the time has come to protect children and support parents to make healthy decisions for their families.

The Walking School Bus offers many benefits such as physical activity, socialization and easy morning routines. One of the biggest benefits that Sandra and Jennifer have observed is the positive impact the Walking School Bus has on their community.

“My family has been able to meet more parents and kids that we may not have met or become friends with otherwise,” says Jennifer.

According to Sandra these new relationships have led to a safer and more connected neighbourhood. “As we’ve met more of our neighbours through this program, my kids now know many adults they can go to if they ever need help,” says Sandra.

The program was implemented at Sandhills in Spring 2017 and due to high demand, the school will be adding a second route this fall. CCS proudly operates Walking School Bus programs in Ontario, New Brunswick and Quebec (where the program started in 2010, locally known as Trottibus).

Thanks to the generous support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, CCS is expanding the program to 30 schools in Waterloo Region over the next three years.

You can help the Canadian Cancer Society get more children moving by starting a Walking School Bus in your community. To learn more, please visit www.cancer.ca/walkingschoolbus.