by David Hopper

Starting this year, local businesses will have the opportunity to participate in the highly successful Walking School Bus Program by sponsoring a route. Commute Options is looking for community involvement in the form of volunteers, prizes for students, and cash sponsorships.

A Walking School Bus is a group of students walking or rolling together to and from school with a trained adult Leader, and following a predetermined route, just like a driven school bus! Students are free to hop on or hop off as the route passes their neighborhoods.

The Walking School Bus Program impacts students all over the Bend La Pine School District, teaching young people how to observe safe walking practices and encouraging physical activity. Groups of students walking together each day form bonds with one another that they otherwise might not, and schools that participate see less traffic congestion during pick-up and drop-off hours. What’s more, neighborhoods home to a route often see a reduction in traffic speeds as drivers know to watch out for children. Our routes have quickly become fixtures in the communities they serve, and make Bend a safer, healthier place to live.

Sound worthwhile?

If your business is looking for a meaningful way to give back to our community this year, look no further! Volunteering with the Walking School Bus can be a great way to serve as role models for our community’s youth, modeling safe walking and riding practices as well as effective communication skills. Donating small prizes like water bottles, snacks, and age-appropriate toys keeps students excited about participating and helps encourage new students to sign up. Finally and most importantly, cash support gives Commute Options the resources we need to employ paid route Leaders, ensuring our children are walking with skilled and dedicated adults.

Becoming a Walking School Bus Sponsor comes with the added bonus of promotion on social media and at community events.

If your organization is interested, or for more information on how to participate, please contact David Hopper, at

Commute Options is a 501(c)(3) organization. Any contributions are tax-deductible.

Header photo credit Tambi Lane @tambilanephoto