RYE, N.Y. -- Hundreds of Rye elementary school students participated in the Rye YMCA sponsored "Walk to School Week" on Tuesday. The event, which is in its third year, encourages students to walk to school to promote personal and environmental health.
Although the event is advertised as being a week long, Safe Routes to School Committee member and Midland School mom Kate Matigan said that the purpose of the event is to permanently instill the habit of walking to school into students.
"We use the days to shake people out of their cars," Matigan said. "We try to push people to stop idling cars, and today you can see there are a lot less on the circle, so we can see an impact."
Matigan is one of eight members serving on the committee, which has representation from all the public schools in Rye and Rye Neck. As part of the program children have formed walking school buses of approximately 20 or more children that serves as a safe and collaborative way to travel to school.
"The beauty of the walking schools, especially in Rye where neighborhoods are so close together, is not every parent has to walk with their kids," Matigan said. "It’s completely organic."
Tuesday morning at Midland School, Rye Council member and Midland School mom Suzanna Keith along with Superintendent Ed Shine participated in the celebratory greeting of the walking students.
"It's such a great community event. How wonderful it is to see all these families coming out for earth week," Keith said.
Matigan said the event would not be possible without the help, coordination and funding provided by the Rye YMCA, and was also complimentary of the parents of Rye for their support.
"This comes to down to parents to organize their homes to get their kids out earlier," Matigan said. "It’s a commitment about the families to teach their kids about healthy choices."