Talking Walking Safety and Healthy Eating with the “Waves”
On January 9th, 2019, EZ Ride’s Bike & Pedestrian team visited the George L. Catrambone (GLC) Elementary School “Waves” in Long Branch. The team gave pedestrian safety presentations to 729 students and many students reported they walk around town in their free time after school. Grades 1-5 came into the gymnasium for the presentations throughout the school day, each group arriving curious and excited about what they would be learning. The Bike & Pedestrian team utilizes safety presentations to cover both safety and health of students as part of being a wholly healthy person. We teach that kids need at least 60 minutes of vigorous exercise to stay healthy and that walking is a great way for students to get fresh air, exercise, and to socialize with family and friends if it’s done in a safe manner. Likewise, fueling one’s bodies with whole, healthy foods can provide them with the energy they need to engage in exercise. We encourage kids to eat produce, buy healthier afterschool snacks from our partner bodegas, and to drink more water rather than sugary drinks. After our presentations, GLC’s music teacher spoke to us regarding our presentations:
“The part [of the presentation] about healthy eating helps kids understand why it is important to eat healthily. This presentation is so important for children to see. The presenters know how to differentiate the presentation according to the different age levels. They gave concrete tips for the children to follow in order to be safe when crossing the street.”
– GLC Music Teacher
All of the students were excited to participate in our presentation, and were able to show off their knowledge of pedestrian safety. They were excited to participate in our roadway demonstration showing off the four safety rules: “Stop! Look! Listen! Think!” and 36 students made safety posters after our talk. We selected 13 poster winners who got their choice of a bike helmet, a set of bike lights, bike bell or a reflective string bag. When speaking on the topic of health and nutrition, the Bike & Pedestrian team observed students engaged in the subject matter, actively listening and absorbing the serious material that was presented. The students were told about the potential effects of a poor diet and lack of exercise leading to chronic disease and a shorter lifespan, and we urged them to make a concerted effort to change their eating habits and increase their level of physical activity. We also notified them of a healthy eating event we were hosting at a local bodega on January 12th and invited them to come and bring their families to do free health screening and to get free healthy snacks, recipes, fresh fruit cups and bottled water.
GLC has collaborated with EZ Ride to promote walking and biking several times in the past, and we have nominated them for the Gold SRTS Recognition award in 2019. In addition, the municipality of Long Branch Public recently passed a Complete Streets Policy in order to encourage kids to get more physical activity via walking or biking to school safely. GLC’s staff and students are passionate about safety and health, and EZ Ride had a very positive experience working with them!
For more info, please contact EZ Ride’s Bike & Pedestrian team at (201)-939-4242 ext. 5.
About the Grantee
EZ Ride is a non-profit, public-private partnership with a mission to implement transportation programs and services that enhance quality of life, regional mobility and economic opportunity while reducing traffic congestion & air pollution. The Bike & Ped team offers Safe Routes to School (SRTS) services and works to build safe and healthy communities.