Community Cycling Center represents at the Safe Routes to School Conference
Last week, the second annual National Safe Routes to School Conference came to Portland. 550 educators, health professionals, and transportation planners and activists came to learn, discuss, and problem solve to create healthier communities through active transportation.
During the conference, we shared our experience with Bike Clubs and connected with people from across the United States who are working to address barriers to active transportation in low income communities.
Though Bike Club is not funded through the national Safe Routes to School program, Bike Club does share Safe Routes’ vision to get more kids walking and bicycling to school and to make it safer and more convenient to do so.
Safe Routes in Underserved Communities: Barriers and Opportunities
Alison Graves, Director of Community and Programs, facilitated a diverse panel of transportation educators, where she led a lively discussion about specific barriers and strategies for walking and bicycling to school within low income communities. Panelists presented case studies from an Amish community in Ohio, tribal nations in Wisconsin, and a neighborhood in inner city Detroit. Alison reports, “It was great to see people making connections between community health issues within low income communities and the infrastructure and programs that make walking and bicycling accessible.”
Educating the Next Generation
Program Manager Laura Koch, co-presenting with Scott Cohen of the Portland Bureau of Transportation, shared assessment tools developed to evaluate the Community Cycling Center’s Bike Club program. Laura reports that the presentation “was a great opportunity to share with others the ways in which strong evaluation tools can bolster program curriculum and demonstrate effectiveness to potential funders.”
Bike Club: Experiential Education Curriculum
Youth Program Coordinator Kim Whitney collaborated with Gabriel Graff, former Community Cycling Center Program staff, currently of the City of Portland. As part of a mobile workshop, Kim and Gabriel shared an overview of our Bike Club curriculum. They demonstrated the hands-on nature of our Bike Clubs and gave the educators in attendance new ideas for aligning their classroom lessons with experiential education.
We were thrilled to be so well-represented at this year’s Safe Routes to School conference. It was further proof that the work that we are immersed in, i.e., employing hands-on, experiential education to improve community health, is gaining ground across the nation. We were happy to share our lessons learned and learn from others who are doing similar work in their communities.