Our Safe Routes to School Coordinator, Whitney, on KTVZ news talking about the grant funding.

Commute Options was recently awarded two grants totaling $100,000 – $50,000 from Oregon Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School innovation grant, and $50,000 from Central Oregon Health Council through their Impact Incentives Fund Match. The grant funding will go towards expanding and reshaping Commute Options’ Walking School Bus program. In an effort to make the program more impactful, sustainable, and replicable to encourage more widespread 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, as the students walk to school, they can pick up more classmates along the way. Funding will go to cover paid leaders (currently leaders are volunteers) and marketing efforts to help add consistency to the walking school bus routes. These leaders will be trained to provide walking and biking education, based on Safe Routes to School curriculum, to the students during the walking school bus.

Commute Options will also be creating a guide outlining the steps to setting up a Walking School Bus Program under the paid leader model, which will include attachments of the various lessons plans/activities throughout the year. This guide will direct all Oregonian Safe Routes to School coordinators and school administrators through the process of establishing a sustainable Walking School Bus program.