Walk to School Day gets area students moving - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Walk to School Day gets area students moving

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Thousands of San Diego-area school children walked or biked to school Wednesday as part of International Walk to School Day.

By getting to campus via foot- or pedal power versus being given a ride in a vehicle, children receive the health benefits of exercise and improve safety by reducing traffic congestion, according to the San Diego Association of Governments.

"Kudos to all the students who are adopting healthy habits and doing their part to minimize our region's carbon footprint," said SANDAG Chairman Jack Dale, who's also a Santee councilman. "When children walk or bike to school, the entire region benefits because it reduces traffic congestion and helps combat childhood obesity."

The organization -- which represents local government agencies -- is sponsoring a weeklong Walk, Ride and Roll to School Challenge in which students at 47 campuses are competing to win up to $1,000 in school supplies.

Students at O'Farrell Charter School in Encanto were greeted Wednesday by sponsors, volunteers and members of the San Diego Police Department's juvenile services team, who passed out healthy snacks, drawstring backpacks, glow-in-the-dark wristbands, scented pencils, charms, and stickers.

O'Farrell is a K-10 school with about 1,200 students.

Organized by the Partnership for a Walkable America, Walk to School Day began in 1997 as a one-day event aimed at building awareness for the need for pedestrian-friendly communities. Canada and the United Kingdom joined the effort in 2000 for International Walk to School Day, leading October to be declared as International Walk to School Month.

Thousands of schools across the U.S. and more than 40 other nations worldwide celebrate walking to school every October.

Information is online at walkbiketoschool.org.

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