The National Center for Safe Routes to School and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership presented the 1st Safe Routes to School National Conference, November 5–7, in Dearborn, Michigan.
Attended by a sell-out crowd of 400 people from around the U.S., the conference included Safe Routes to School local practitioners from a variety of disciplines including law enforcement, education, government, transportation, engineering and others.
Hosted by the Michigan Fitness Foundation, the meeting presented an opportunity for those interested in the health and safety of children to explore aspects of the Safe Routes to School program and other variables that can improve the wellness of schoolchildren. Conference-goers could attend sessions on topics such as walking school buses, promotions, data collection and program evaluation, and more. The conference also addressed needs among urban, suburban and rural settings, allowing for opportunity to address a variety of topics and interests among attendees. The National Center for Safe Routes to School also piloted a new training course at the conference for local program coordinators.
In addition to support for the conference, the National Center for Safe Routes to School provided a total of $20,000 in stipend funding to assist Safe Routes to School practitioners with travel expenses in order to attend the conference. The stipend is designed specifically to encourage local program champions who do not have other funding to support travel to the conference.