Guest Blogger: Erin Bennett, Idaho Government Relations Director
For the last 12 months the American Heart Association and our coalition partners have been working diligently on educating legislators on the benefits of investing in the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program. Investing in making our communities safer for people to walk and bike is vital to improving our state’s overall health.
During Lobby Day this year, we helped Legislators understand the benefits of Safe Routes, beyond just the increase in physical activity for children. When we invest in making it safer for children to walk and bike to school we make it safer for everyone in the community to get out and get active. SRTS legislation would dedicate state dollars to funding infrastructure and non-infrastructure projects that would make it easier, safer, and help encourage kids to walk and bike to school every day.
We know there are long term benefits to health, education, transportation, the environment, and in communities across the state.
With session over and legislators back in their home districts, we are working to expand the information people have about SRTS and how these programs can improve their communities. We are reaching out to more organizations for support of this work, and to all our wonderful volunteers who know how important physical activity is to children to prevent heart disease and stroke risks.
Our Idaho Heart Walk is on Saturday, May 14th, where we will continue to talk about the benefits of Safe Routes to School, and encourage individuals to sign on to support SRTS funding in the 2017 Legislative Session. This is the perfect opportunity to join us to celebrate heart health and encourage kids to be more active. Please join us by signing up at www.boiseheartwalk.org, and come to the AHA/ ASA booth to learn more about Safe Routes to School, and help support active transportation and improved health!