WAYNESBORO, Va -- Berkeley Glenn Elementary officially opened its new sidewalks to the public and it was thanks to a Safe Routes to School grant. That grant is already making a big difference in the safety of the students.
It used to be, on any given day, a total of about nine families would walk their kids to school at Berkeley Glenn Elementary. Since new crosswalks and sidewalks were created, this week has been different. Gwen Baker, a crossing guard, described the increase of students walking to school.
“Now that we've had the Walk to School Week, I'm averaging, I bet you it was at least 100 children. It was a challenge. Because, this is a busy intersection anyway,” said Baker.
That was why teachers and parents explored the Safe Routes to School grant. The school gathered to cut the ribbon to officially mark the the new sidewalks as open.
Chris Brown has a 5-year-old daughter just started kindergarten at Berkeley Glenn Elementary. He understands the lasting impact of these new sidewalks.
“Anything thing they do to lower our dependency on oil and gas, plus making us healthier at the same time, I think it's great,” said Brown.
His daughter is too young to walk to school by herself, but she did have fun walking all this week with her family. If she wants to keep doing walking to school when she gets older, Brown will let her.
“With her growing up doing this, then she's going to think of this more as the norm. She'll think of it as a daily thing that you have to walk to school and it will keep her active, keep her mind awake when she gets to school.”
Another parent said she remembered her son walking to school every day 25 years ago and she hoped the new sidewalks would start a culture shift.
Brown is happy his daughter can be part of it.
“It'll go back to that whole, you know, your grandparents say, 'I had to walk uphill both ways in ten feet of snow,' or whatever.”
Berkeley Glenn is the first school in Waynesboro to benefit from the Safe Routes to School grant. Plans are being made for more improvements throughout the city.
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