In celebration of 'International Walk to School Day', (October 9) a Walking School Bus began taking children to school from Springfield Housing Authority's Sullivan Apartments at 160 Nursery St. to the nearby Boland Elementary School.
The walking troupe of children will be accompanied by adults from the Talk/Read/Succeed! program, a collaborative family-based effort with more than two dozen local groups and agencies united in an effort to boost reading skills among young children.
The walking school bus will leave every weekday morning at 8:15 a.m. from the SHA development. It is free and open to all of the approximate 95 young Sullivan residents who attend Boland.
T/R/S! Outreach Coordinator Lynne Cimino said the daily event will have many benefits, including ensuring that children get to school safely, providing morning exercise, reducing the potential for bullying and fighting, keeping absenteeism down, promoting community engagement and enabling children to have fun walking with their friends and neighbors.
"When we think about building relationships between families and school, what better way to bridge the gap- this is a win-win experience for both.
The Walking School Bus is a perfect way to decrease absenteeism, and promote community building within the area they live. Most of all it is fun to walk as a group, especially with school staff. Building the relationship with the school that the child attends is very important to families and the school. Together the group will walk from Nursery Street up Stafford Street directly to Boland School. The excitement on the children's faces as they saw their principal and teachers walking to meet them was very inspiring for both school staff and children," Cimino said.
Springfield Housing Authority is Massachusetts' third largest housing authority, with 2,397 traditional public housing units located at twenty-seven sites throughout the city, 240 Massachusetts Rental Vouchers, and 2,733 Housing Choice Vouchers.