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San Diego Officials Hope Students Leave Car Behind On Walk To School Day

SAN DIEGO — Wednesday is International Walk to School Day, which government and school officials hope will raise awareness of the health benefits of getting to class in some way other than by car.

Locally, the San Diego Association of Governments is encouraging children to walk or bike to campus. Doing so provides exercise and improves safety by reducing traffic congestion, according to SANDAG.

The organization — which represents local government agencies — is sponsoring the weeklong Walk, Ride, and Roll to School Challenge in which students at 47 campuses are competing to win up to $1,000 in school supplies.

Organizers have scheduled an event at O'Farrell Charter School in Encanto, where sponsors, volunteers and the San Diego Police Department's juvenile services team will greet students with healthy snacks, drawstring backpacks, glow-in-the-dark wristbands, scented pencils, charms and stickers.

O'Farrell is a K-10 school with about 1,200 students.

Organized by the Partnership for a Walkable America, Walk to School Day began in 1997 as a one-day event aimed at building awareness for the need for walkable communities. Canada and the United Kingdom joined the effort in 2000 for International Walk to School Day, leading October to be declared as International Walk to School Month.

Thousands of schools across the U.S. and more than 40 other nations worldwide celebrate walking to school every October.

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