A new national program overseen by the Safe Routes to School National Partnership is helping students, parents and schools incorporate physical activity into their daily routine — and participants in certain states can even earn cash awards for their school!
The Fire Up Your Feet project provides resources to help promote physical activity at school and in daily life, including through efforts to make it easier to walk or bicycle to campus and improve the built environment. Project officials also are working with local PTA chapters and similar groups to promote healthy fundraisers, such as fun runs or walkathons, which allow schools to raise money without having to sell unhealthy food such as candy bars.
In addition, residents of selected regions are eligible to take part in the Fire Up Your Feet Activity Challenge this spring, which allows families with children in kindergarten through eighth grade to log their activity and earn prizes.
“They track the minutes they spend walking or biking to school, or on any physical activity, and they can urge challenge awards for their school,” says Margaux Mennesson, communications manager for the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. “They can use it to install bike rakes, or get new playground equipment, that kind of thing.”
Regions with a sponsoring partner are eligible to take part in the challenge, including California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon and Southwest Washington state. Metro areas such as Atlanta, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., also are eligible for the challenge. Prizes vary from region-to-region, but challenge takers can earn up to $1,000, Mennesson adds.
While Fire Up Your Feet is centered around the school day, it is designed to bring more parents into the mix when it comes to safe routes and other activity initiatives, Mennsesson says. Many schools have a safe routes coordinator who handles projects and events, for example, but parents or community members aren’t really involved. With Fire Up Your Feet, safe routes advocates hope to change that, and encourage more families to become active in their daily lives.
“We’ve heard really positive feedback. Parents and schools like how easy it is to sign up,” Mennsesson says. “One thing that it’s helping to do is encourage families to get involved who haven’t been involved before… Our goal with this program is to get those parents and those individuals engaged personally.”
To sign up for Fire Up Your Feet and find out if your state/region is participating, go to fireupyourfeet.org, click on “Get Started” and enter your name and zip code. You will be redirected to the customized site for your state/region.
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Expand community access to high quality food
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Improve built environment in communities to increase physical activity
Use pricing strategies to promote purchase of healthier foods
Use regulation/policy to reduce youth exposure to unhealthy food marketing
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3. Applicant works for an organization:
Has an email address that matches the domain of the organization they list
Is listed on the organization website as staff
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