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Local students roll their way to school

  • Zeesham Imtiaz, 8, left, and Demitrius Duport, 9, head to Monte Vista Elementary School on International Walk and Roll to School Day in Rohnert Park , California on Tuesday, October 8, 2013. (BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)

Second-grader Janeyah Clark likes to ride her scooter everywhere, but on Tuesdays she especially likes to ride it to school with her grandfather Rick Lamun by her side.

The Monte Vista Elementary School student typically rides her scooter for the eight-minute trip from her home every Tuesday — the day of the week the Rohnert Park campus officials promote as a regular walk and roll to school day.

On Wednesday, thousands more students will participate in the official International Walk and Roll to School Day, an event meant to inspire students — and their parents — to forgo the automobile and walk or ride bikes or scooters to school.

Walk And Roll To School Day 2013

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"To me, it's about being healthy and fun. It's also about instilling the idea that you are capable of this," said Connie Sultana, a mother of two who is coordinating Wednesday's event at Proctor Terrace Elementary School in Santa Rosa. "I want it to be a possibility for children to recognize."

As many as 10,000 students from 70 schools in Sonoma County are expected to participate in Wednesday's event which is sponsored by Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition's Safe Routes to School program, Sonoma County Department of Health Services, Kaiser Permanente and Safe Kids Sonoma County, among others.

The one-day event can inspire more long-term programs, according to Deb Hubsmith, founder and director of the Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership.

Schools can create "Walk and Roll" days or a "Golden Shoe" competitions between classes to spur students to hit the pavement more than just once a year, she said.

"About a third of them go on to create a more permanent effort," Hubsmith said of schools across the nation that participate in International Walk and Roll to School Day. "The event really does serve as a way to bring schools into the fold for long term change."

The event has exploded in popularity in Sonoma County.

In 1999, the same year Safe Routes to School was established in California, five Sonoma County Schools participated in the one-day event. In 2006, that number had grown to 15.


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