By Erin Moore, Ball State Office of Community Engagement—
Charlie Cardinal, Muncie EMS Fox, Indiana State Police’s Trooper Teddy, Ball State cheerleaders and student-athletes, and Mayor Dennis Tyler were on hand at five Muncie elementary schools to celebrate students as they biked and walked to school in honor of National Bike Month.
“Active transportation opportunities are key in helping communities enjoy better health,” said Jane Ellery, Graduate Program Coordinator for Ball State’s Wellness Management Program and Senior Fellow for Project for Public Spaces. “We want kids to know that walking and biking to school are fun, and we want to help them remember the road rules so they are safe when they walk and bike on their own.”
Special events were planned at five Muncie elementary schools: Sutton Elementary, Longfellow Elementary, South View Elementary, North View Elementary, and West View Elementary. Students met at three or four locations near their schools and walked or biked with parents, teachers, and volunteers.
At each school, students were greeted with balloons, music, free reflectors, and lots of cheers and high-fives. IU Ball Memorial Hospital provided 20 helmets to students who did not already have them.
“On the day of our event, the weather wasn’t picture perfect but we still had a great time,” said Eric Grim, principal at Sutton Elementary. “The kids were excited to walk and bike with their peers. The event is a unique way to promote healthy lifestyles and a sense of community.”
The first bike/walk event in Muncie was held in May 2016 at Longfellow Elementary. Two additional schools participated last fall, and plans are in the works for more events next school year.
These fun events are the result of positive partnerships between each elementary school and the City of Muncie, Muncie Bike/Ped Initiative, Delaware-Muncie Metropolitan Plan Commission, Purdue Extension, Ball State Athletics and the Office of Community Engagement, Cardinal Greenway, Whitely Community Council, and IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital and Foundation.
“I greatly appreciate the dedication, time, and effort of the teachers, staff, parents, students, planning team members, and many others in making the five Bike/Walk events a great success,” said Suzie Jones from Ball State’s Office of Community Engagement. “Muncie is a vibrant community for our young people, and it was a joy to celebrate them and their schools.”
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