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Pueblo Gardens WALKtober Kickoff Event

Bright and early on Monday, October 26th, students and teachers from Pueblo Gardens gathered at the nearby Boys and Girls Club in preparation to walk to school together. The event is part of the WALKtober Safe Routes to School Challenge, which is organized by Living Streets Alliance.

"Living Streets Alliance is a local non-profit organization, and we're focused on making our city a better place for walking, biking, socializing, and being out on the streets playing," explained Living Streets Alliance program manager Evren Sonmez.

The walk kicked off the week-long challenge, which Sonmez said involved 45 schools and over 15,000 students. Since Pueblo Gardens was the first of the week, Mayor Jonathan Rothschild walked alongside the Pueblo Gardens students and gave a brief speech once they arrived at school.

"We were fortunate to have the mayor here as part of the event," said Pueblo Gardens principal Seth Aleshire. "We are a community-based school, so the vast majority of our students walk or bike to school. There's a real need for our students to know… how to navigate the route to school safely."

Mayor Rothschild agreed. "In order for us to feel safe about [the students] walking to school, we have to educate them on what the safe routes are and how to walk safely to school," he said. "You can get out, get a little exercise, but understand that it's cool to walk to school."

The Safe Routes to School Challenge is in its second year of operation, and Sonmez is enjoying her position advocating for the children to have a solid idea of how to travel to school safely. An added bonus of the program is the sense of community it builds.

"If we can get the kids to walk and bike to school, it's healthier for them, but it's better for the environment and it's better for the neighborhoods because it builds community," she explained. "People when they walk more, they connect more… it really benefits everyone and fits right in with what we do at Living Streets Alliance."

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