The fifth installment of the Bester Walking School Bus linked the Hagerstown Police Department with the children of Bester Elementary who walk to school. Officer Gerry Kendle and a team of seven officers spread out over four locations to greet students and join them on their journey.
As children arrived they were given two decorative flowers and given the task of attaching and writing a note on each to spread kindness: One for a local hero in their neighborhood who makes a difference in their life, and the other for someone at school who they appreciate. As they finished their efforts and were ready to begin their walk, they received a bottle of water and a healthy breakfast appetizer: assorted candy!
At the Frederick Manor stop, volunteer Teri Siefert enjoyed seeing kids get excited about the activity of paying it forward. “The first child to arrive at our corner was very hesitant to stop. He had on a hoodie that covered nearly his entire face. All I could tell is that he wore glasses. I had fun asking him about “heroes” in his life. We invited him to stay and walk to school with us. As we walked to school he went on to tell me about boy scouts, near the end of the conversation I realized he had taken his hood off and I could completely see his face and observe facial expressions. He was smiling! I made a friend today.”
At Ringers Laundry, a small group of kids came together. The officer asked kids “who is someone you appreciate?”, and all the kids in attendance said “my parents”. One child said “my mom always cooks for me” and another said “my mom is always there for me.” On the journey to school, the officer would see kids walking alone and ask “hey do you want to walk with a police officer today?” Kids were excited to see the officer walking to school with other students and quickly joined, but they had lots of questions. “Why are you doing this?” The officer said, “I’m here to support you guys and make sure you are attending school every day.”
Kids also met near the Auto Spa and the Triple Coin Laundromat, both located on Baltimore St, and spent time getting to know their local officers and enjoying the time together on a chilly morning. At the Auto Spa meeting point kids asked the Officer to pose in pictures with their family, and at Triple Coin, one young student decided that he wanted to give his flower for a local hero to the police officer for being there today.
Bester Elementary’s Walking School Bus is a monthly parent-led effort focused on attendance, supported by community partners including the Bester Community of Hope. Interested in participating or have great ideas for a fun theme? Let us know at 240-513-6370 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you next month!