MADERA, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Madera Unified School District schools took part in celebrating International Walk to School Day.

This is a day used to create awareness for walkable communities. The absence of safe, walkable communities is a leading cause of physical inactivity. Something that the Madera County Department of Public Health and other community partners are working to improve in the City of Madera.

Hundreds of students, parents, and staff from schools in Madera walked with the Madera County Department of Public Health’s CalFresh Healthy Living Program, UC CalFresh Healthy Living, Madera Police Department, Firefighters, Madera Parks & Community Services, and community leaders.

Schools including Sierra Vista Elementary, Virginia Lee Rose Elementary, and George Washington Elementary participated in International Walk to School Day. Participants met at 6:30 a.m. and did fun exercise activities before walking to school.

Roxanne Schallberger, a teacher at Madera Unified, said this event is a great reminder to kids and adults about walking safety.

“Its really important for us to remember that we are back in school (…) It’s really important for kids to remember that we do need to use our crosswalks. Also, adults that are driving in our school zones, that kids are back in school. So, it’s just a way to bring back this information and get everyone to school safely.”

-Roxanne Schallberger, Madera Unified School District teacher

The event is aimed at building connections between families, schools, and the broader community with the goal of improving the health of residents and encouraging an active lifestyle from an early age.