Active and Safe Routes to School

by Parents for Action Now

From September of 2014 to June 2015, Parents for Action Now has been working on the Active and Safe Routes to School project, made possible by the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Spark Advocacy Grant. This project focuses on leadership development for newcomer parents in the West End of Toronto through learning about how to implement a school travel plan in their school or community.

Two teams of parent leaders from within PfAN set out to engage two local schools in developing a safe travel plan for children to get to school using active modes of transportation. In each school a committee within the parent council adopted an “Active and Safe Routes to School” project to learn about how kids are currently getting to school, what are the barriers to active modes of transportation, and how they can support improvements in their neighbourhood.

The parent leaders then hosted four workshops for the PfAN group. In four workshops, the group covered topics such as facilitation, making speeches, outreach, and getting involved in your child’s school. Through group activities, break-out sessions and facilitated discussions, parents further realized and developed their engagement capacity and confidence in getting involved in their communities and schools.

  • Seventeen parents actively participated in the four workshops about active and safe routes to school, and built upon their leadership skills.
  • 75% of participants reported to have more confidence to take on leadership roles.
  • 100% of participants reported to have a better understanding of how to get involved in their school and/or community.

Here is some of the great feedback we received from our parent leaders:

“I have more confidence in talking in front of a group of people and to share my ideas. I am more eager to get involved my community and my son’s school in order to take action to improve.”

“I believe seeing us working in this project, (PfAN participants) realized that everyone is capable of achieving a task like this.”

“I’ve learned different ways to work and seek solutions. I’m ready for the next one!”

“I think we can make changes in our own communities if we take action over an issue.”

And from other PfAN participants:

“I know much better the resources that I have available to get involved in my community”

“I have learned the parents’ power in our kids’ life”