Planning for Pleasantville
So, now that Anita and the others have recruited some people who live and work near Pleasantville Middle School for their team, they are ready to start figuring out how they are going to make that intersection at Maple Avenue and Elm Street less dangerous. Some of the original members of the team—the parent whose daughter goes to Baker, for example—have decided to focus their time on the sweetened beverage issue instead, but the new members from Miguel's neighborhood are more than making up the difference.
The girl who wants to ride her bike to school—her name is Isabel—is particularly motivated to make this project a success. The group has decided to submit a petition to the town board requesting that they do what they can to make the intersection safer. They are hoping to at least get a crossing guard assigned to that intersection for now and maybe a traffic light installed in the long run. Isabel's parents have told her that if they succeed, she'll be allowed to ride in every day, as long as she walks her bike across Maple Ave.
In the meantime, Isabel has teamed up with the Pleasantville P.E. teacher to get kids who want to bike or walk to school interested in more immediate solutions. After discussing it with the larger group, they are planning to form a "walking school bus" where kids and adults walk to school together, picking up kids along the way as if they were at bus stops. They have decided to test the idea with kids in the lunchtime walking club the teacher started and then expand from there.
The recreation coordinator is also pulling together some parent volunteers who can "drive" the bus. He's also recruiting some parents to help with a count of kids who are walking now, so that in three months they can repeat the count and measure their success. Isabel's mom has agreed to help with at least the first count, and Anita has agreed to send regular e-mail updates to let the team know about the status of the project and to get their input on how they think things are going.
As for Isabel, even if she can't bike until the intersection is safer, she can at least walk to school with her friends as part of the "walking school bus."
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Cornell NutritionWorks: Preventing Childhood Obesity
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