‘Safe Routes’ is ready for spring

FAIRMONT — Safe Routes to School is gearing up to start again for the spring months. The program is put on by the Early Risers Kiwanis in conjunction with Fairmont Community Education and Recreation.

Safe Routes to School will take place every Tuesday morning for the remainder of the school year beginning April 2. Allen Core is the chairman of the committee. This is Core’s first year as chair but he has been in Kiwanis for about 15 years.

“There’s four different routes in town for the kids who live close enough to school that they don’t get bussed in,” Core explained.

There are drop off places for students at Fairmont Elementary, St. John Vianney and St. Paul’s Lutheran Schools.

Route one begins at Holden Park on Washington Avenue and Day Street. Route two begins at the Fairmont Aquatic Park on South Prairie Avenue. Route three begins at Bird Park on Woodland Avenue. Route four begins at Grace Lutheran Church.

Core said the schools have sent out information about it to parents. It’s about a 10-minute walk for each route and they leave at 7:40 a.m. each Tuesday.

“They can come when they can. We get anywhere from five to 15 kids in each route,” Core said.

Core said the program originated by Joe Burns and has been running for around 20 years.

“One of the goals of the early risers Kiwanis is working with children to improve communities and spend some time with kids by talking to them and let them talk to other adults besides family members and teachers,” Core said.

Core said that those involved with Safe Routes to Schools specifically want to make sure kids observe good habits when crossing the roads and looking for cars.

Safe Routes takes place in the spring and again after school starts in September and October.

Core said the volunteer crossing guards help out when they get to crosswalks.

“They’re really good. They talk to the kids and know a lot of their names,” Core remarked.

Kiwanis club members volunteer to help out by walking with the kids. Core said they have enough volunteers at this point with one or two members assigned to each route.

“We’ll generally wear a bright yellow shirt or vest so that the kids can identify us,” Core said.

Anyone who would like more information can contact the CER office at 507-235-3141.

“We enjoy it. It’s fun to communicate and visit with and build relationships with these kids and it gives them an opportunity to do the same” Core said.