A conversation with Safe Routes to School Marin County Program Director Gwen Froh.
From Carpool Karaoke to the Amazing Transit Race, Safe Routes to School Marin County is building community and inspiring more students to walk, bike, take transit, or carpool to school. In a conversation this week, Program Director Gwen Froh described SR2S Marin County’s high school programming. Their creative events involve students in leadership roles and encourage collaboration, safety, and just plain fun. Right now, Gwen is excited about the following programs:
Carpool Karaoke: Inspired by the popular TV show of the same name, Carpool Karaoke is a promotional competition that encourages students to carpool instead of take their own car. The competition is organized by SR2S Marin and a committee of student leaders participating in the Global Student Embassy Program. Groups of students have two weeks to submit karaoke videos by email, before the student committee selects the winners. Drivers must not be distracted for safety reasons so filming must be done while the car is parked. Gwen has been really impressed with the creativity of both the submissions and the promotions devised by the student leadership team.
Cycle for Cereal, Donut Drive, Hot Walk-o-late, and Bike for Burrito: Hosted as incentives and community building activities on a monthly basis, these smaller events offer breakfast and lunch treats to celebrate students getting to school safely and sustainably. One pro-tip that Gwen mentioned was the power of holding encouragement events during lunch, so students must bike or walk to school to participate. Many students do not have time to participate in morning activities, but enjoy a lunch reward. For example, the Bike for Burrito promotion provides a burrito to students who bike or walk to a specific restaurant during lunch.
Amazing Transit Race: Another event inspired by a hit TV show, the Amazing Transit Race has been a popular at the Marin School of Environmental Leadership for several years. Students work in teams of four to travel by bus to different locations around town. At each location, the teams take selfies to record their progress. At the end of the day, the team with the most selfie points wins! By taking high school students out of normal class for the event, the school’s administration demonstrates how dedicated they are to promoting transit.
These activities show what is possible when students, schools, families, local businesses, city officials and other community partners work together. It is inspiring to hear about such a cool program in action. Keep up the good work, SR2S Marin County!