Mt Pleasant News
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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 31, 2014

Walking school bus coming to MP?

Oct 02, 2013

By MEGAN COOPER

Mt. Pleasant News

More and more kids have quit walking to school. They have even stopped riding their bikes; because of this, these kids are at risk for becoming overweight.

Healthy Henry County Communities (HHCC) is working on a solution for that problem. During its meeting on Tuesday, HHCC discussed how to increase walkability. This is where the idea of a “walking school bus “came into play.

Lindsey Remick, committee member, discussed with the board how she has been in talks with other communities concerning this idea. “We are here to help other communities set up programs, they can come to us, maybe we need to go to other communities and set up meetings with them,” she said during the meeting.

“This will improve walkability, which is needed,” Remick said. “This program will help with obesity and to get kids active again.”

So, what is a walking school bus? The program consists of adult volunteers who are willing to meet kids at a designated spot and walk them to school. A timetable would need to be set up in order for this work to smoothly. It also helps to provide safety for kids who do walk to school because an adult would be with them until they reach school.

With this idea of creating walkability, “Mt. Pleasant has expressed interest in creating a safe path to the aquatic center,” Remick said. This is still in the works, but the city is hoping to create something that will increase safety for kids who walk to the pool in the summer. HHCC is helping with this idea.

HHCC encourages surrounding communities in Henry County to reach out to them (HHCC) in order to set up programs or organize them.

During the meeting HHCC announced its upcoming events for Oct. and Nov.

• Oct. 9: Healthiest State Walk – Iowa Wesleyan College is hosting this event and it will begin at 11:30 a.m. and end at 12:30 p.m. A group photo will be taken at 11:50 a.m. The community is invited to join.

• Oct. 9: National Walk to School Day – Members of HHCC will be at the elementary schools handing out stickers and coloring books.

• Oct. 11: United Way Golf Outing – Begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 11:30 a.m. This is taking place at Deerwood Golf Course in New London.

• Oct. 27: Healthy Halloween Walk – At East Lake Park and will begin at the softball diamonds. This event offers healthy alternatives to Halloween candy and also provides information about your health from local businesses (rain date Nov. 3).

• Nov. 7: Road Ahead Conference – Taking place at Iowa Wesleyan College from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. This conference deals with topics like substance abuse and bullying, plus much more. The keynote speaker of this event is Aaron Thomas, son of Ed Thomas, the coach who was killed while he supervised a weight lifting session. This event is sponsored by the Substance Abuse Coalition. There is a fee for this event.

• Nov. 9: Boot Camp for New Dads – This event has moved to the meeting room at the REC Center in Mt. Pleasant. It will be from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

• May 24: ASA Softball Tournament – The tournament will take place at the softball complex and volunteers are needed.

The committee then discussed new purchases that were made through the transformation grant. HHCC purchased two bike racks, one for Salem and one for the middle school in Mt. Pleasant.

The committee is also looking for new members to join its ranks. They are looking for someone who is involved in the community and is outgoing. These people could be involved with the school district, real estate or even human resources. The committee organized a few members into a committee to decide who would be best to invite to join HHCC.

The committee will meet again on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

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