One of the most important results is the confidence that local school principals see in their students. A fourth grader who was frequently in trouble and insecure became a confident and positive school leader after learning to ride a bike in the program. She also improved academically. Another child went on to learn how to swim as a result of her new-found confidence — giving her yet another opportunity for active living.
Across our nation, policymakers, community leaders and people in the private sector are collaborating to build neighborhoods that support healthy communities, but we still have a long way to go. Safe Routes to School programs represent our best efforts of working together to improve traffic congestion, the environment and the safety and health of our children and communities.
Without federal support for Safe Routes to School, it would have been impossible to deliver high-quality projects with such great results. We must place a high priority on supporting and improving the policies and programs that make a difference. Together, we can reverse the obesity epidemic and fulfill our responsibility to give our children the best opportunity to live healthy lives.
Democrat Seneca Scott is a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Republican Karen Gilbert is a Tulsa city councilor.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.