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Ditch your car Dad, join the Walking School Bus!

ARTA Media Release
5 November 2008

Ditch your car Dad, join the Walking School Bus!

Laying down the gauntlet to men across the region, the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA), supported by AMI insurance, recently ran the ‘Men on the Move Walking School Bus Challenge’. The competition sought to encourage more Dads to leave their cars behind when dropping their children at school, and to volunteer for the Walking School Bus programme instead.

There are over 2000 adult volunteers currently walking around 4500 children on Walking School Bus routes to and from 111 schools throughout the region. Their valued contribution ensures the initiative is a continued success, however only 1 in 7 of the volunteers currently participating in the scheme is male.

Callum O’Neill, winner of the challenge and the recipient of a $500 Bunnings Warehouse voucher, thought the benefits of the programme were obvious ‘I think the walking school bus is a great scheme. It’s great to get the kids out of the car and walking to school in a safe environment, for one it’s good exercise and also one less car at the school gates dropping off the kids.

“I’m working shift work myself and when time permits I love joining the Walking School Bus. I also really appreciate the parents who make the scheme work by being there everyday for the kids.” Mr O’Neill was presented with his prize in a school assembly at Northcote Primary School, where he volunteers in the programme, last week.

It’s not just parents who can participate, uncles, aunties, grandparents, friends and caregivers can also be involved. Sue Kendall, ARTA Walking School Bus Coordinator said “Volunteers often mention that they get involved in the Walking School Bus because they enjoy being part of a positive community initiative, as well as enjoying the benefits of walking.”

Mr O’Neill said “Hopefully in the future more Dads will take up the challenge and walk to school with their kids.” Graeme Findsen was runner-up in the challenge, and was presented with a $200 Rebel Sports voucher at Ellerslie School on Monday.

To find out how to volunteer on a Walking School Bus route or how to set up a Walking School Bus in your school, please contact Sue Kendall on 09 815 2546 or email sue.kendall@arta.co.nz


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