With the help of two Safe Routes to School champions, Los Amigos has embraced a culture of health and physical activity.
By Celia Preble-Gaitz
In its second school year as a Safe Routes to School focus school under Living Streets Alliance (LSA), Los Amigos Technology Academy in Tucson, AZ has developed a Fitness Fridays initiative that is ever growing and fueling enthusiasm for walking and biking to school. With the help of two Safe Routes to School champions, Los Amigos has embraced a culture of health and physical activity with activities like bike rides, walks to school, and bike repair clinics. The program has benefited from support from Principal Valerie Lopez-Miranda, the rest of the school wellness team, additional school faculty, and parents. Initiatives like this become three times easier to maintain when parents and the school are on board!
At the heart of the school's commitment to active lifestyles is the Fitness Fridays initiative, where students from one nearby neighborhood bike to school in a bike train and other students, from five different walking routes, walk to meet each other to create one large walking school bus. Each Fitness Friday sees an average of more than 100 students walking or biking to school. Even with the rough, rocky sides of the road, dusty, overgrown sidewalks, and high traffic zone, the students, staff, and parents still walk to show their dedication to their health and the need for easier and safer access for a simple daily walking or biking commute to school.
And the benefits of a thriving biking and walking program extend beyond the school boundaries. Programs like Fitness Fridays at Los Amigos and the playful walking corridor project at Pueblo Gardens Pre K-8 help advocates demonstrate strong community support for Complete Streets policies and long-term investments in active transportation. Read more at the Safe Routes to School National Partnership's blog.