Commute Options Gets $100,000 in Grants to Expand Walking School Bus Program

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BEND, OR (KTVZ) — Route options recently received two grants totaling $100,000 – a $50,000 Safe Routes to School Innovation Grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation and another $50,000 from the Central Oregon Health Council, as part of their Impact Incentives Fund Match.

Grant funding will be used to expand and reshape Commute Options’ School bus on foot program, with the goal of making the program more impactful, sustainable and replicable to encourage wider adoption of the program.

A walking school bus is a group of students walking to and from school on a planned route with an adult leader. Much like a school bus, when students walk to school, they can pick up more classmates along the way.

Funding will be used to cover paid leaders (currently, leaders are volunteers) and marketing efforts to help add consistency to walking school bus routes. These facilitators will be trained to provide walking and cycling education, based on the Safe Routes to School curriculum, to students during the school bus walk.

Finally, Commute Options will create a step-by-step guide to setting up a Walking School Bus program under the Paid Leader Model, which will include attachments of the various lesson plans/activities throughout the program. ‘year. This guide will guide all Oregonian Safe Routes to School school coordinators and administrators through the process of establishing a sustainable walking school bus program.

Commute Options is a Bend-based nonprofit organization dedicated to transportation options that connect people of all ages to the places they travel – employees to their places of work, students to their schools, and neighbors within of their communities. They advocate for active transportation and infrastructure improvements, foster essential partnerships, and educate the community about transportation options.

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