I can’t believe it’s the end of October already and winter is just around the corner. My mom always said, “The older you get, the faster time goes by.” In the past, I never really believed her. Now I do!
The garden, for all intents, is history for 2014. There are still a few hardy herbs but everything else is gone.
I coordinate our Bellville adult Safety Patrol, making sure our elementary students get safely to and from school. Several mornings, it’s been on the cold side and it makes me shiver to think what this winter could bring us as we stand outside at 7:30 a.m.
Bellville Safety Patrol guards
This month is also Safe Routes to School month, when students are encouraged to walk or ride their bike to school. It’s a national program, and we’ve participated here in Bellville for the past few years. I’ve been chairperson of our Safe Routes to School committee for the past three years and we sponsor walk-and-ride events several times a year, one in spring and one in fall.
This year, our fall event was the week of October 20. Bellville Police Chief Ron Willey and Bellville Elementary School Principal Steve Bloir got the children all fired up for the week during an assembly the week before the event.
Bellville Police Chief Ron Willey and others.
Bellville Principal Steve Bloir with some of the student walkers.
We had a central drop-off place (a large parking lot) where parents could drop off the children. We also had “School Ambassadors,” high school students who escorted the younger students safely to the Safety Patrol Guards and then to the school.
We gave out punch cards to all the students who walked or rode their bikes, and those who had five punches, one for each day in the week, had their cards put in a drawing for a bike. Safety Patrol guards punched the cards every morning.
Through a grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) we were able to purchase one girl’s bike and one boy’s bike to be given away along with smaller hand-outs for students who only walked or rode a bike for a day or two during the week.
Our school district is very rural with approximately 350 square miles of bus routes. Of the 420 students in the elementary school, we had approximately 100 participate in the Safe Routes to School walk and ride week. A great turnout of very enthusiastic children!
Elementary students walking to school.
A couple of the high school ambassadors walking with the elementary students.
We had one cold and rainy morning, but the studentswere there ready to be escorted to school, punch cards in hand.
We’ve been fortunate to have received grants from the American Academy of Pediatrics for bike helmets the past two years. This year, we were awarded 72 helmets to give to students who walk and ride their bikes to school and also for our Bellville Police Safety Town program.
Chief Willey has a two-week program in August before school starts for students ages 4 through 6 who are entering pre-school and kindergarten. Bike safety is a big part of the program so the helmets mean a lot.
As we look forward to the first week in November, the climate scientists are saying this winter will be milder than last year. I hope so! It was brutal here in Bellville last winter.