The fourth installment of the Bester Walking School Bus linked community organizations doing good work in the Bester district with children walking to school. Traveling from each of the four corners of the community, children and families met at either Partners in Pediatrics, Potomac Towers of the Hagerstown Housing Authority, Ladders to Leaders or Easter Seals. Upon arriving each child received beads and plastic instruments such as trumpets and kazoos to make music. Several kids at each station even received some fancy Mardi Gras masks and flair provided by Bester parent Elizabeth Alberding.
Originally rain was in the forecast, but the day turned out to be mild with blue skies considering normal February temperatures. Kids received a drink as well as cookies provided by Sheetz, and one student couldn’t contain her excitement, “Yay! Cookies!”
At the Partners in Pediatrics stop, AmeriCorps VISTA Rafi Hoq amplified zydeco music from his phone during their group’s walk down Memorial Boulevard. One youngster was curious, “What is Mardi Gras?” Bester parent Joy Franklin took the time and gave the explanation of the history of the holiday while other kids waved flags and played kazoos. Quite a few parents joined the walk at the Ladders to Leaders stop, a local organization focused on recovery support for families impacted by substance use. There were all sorts of connections and conversations including sports and Santa. You read that correctly, kids are already planning for Christmas!
At the Easter Seals stop, a mom dropped off her two kids to join the walk before she headed to work. On the way down Locust Street kids were dancing on the sidewalks and gave beads away to the crossing guards as well as people on their porch. A large group of energized employees from the Hagerstown Housing Authority came together to join some students and parents on their walk to school. They used their plastic instruments to hum songs like “When the Saints Go Marching In” and “Eye of the Tiger”, a memorable wake up call for residents on Baltimore Street.
At the school the groups all converged at the entrance with a joyous start to the day. After a walk with his granddaughter, a grandparent turned to a Bester Community of Hope staff with great sincerity and a handshake, “Hey, thanks so much for doing this.”
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!