On most Thursday mornings, Longfellow Elementary is abuzz with yellow school buses and cars circling the school drop off as drivers try to get kids to school before the morning bell rings.
But on October 10th there was an air of celebration as kids, parents, community leaders and educators joined Pasadena Police Department as they walked a half-mile from Washington Park to Longfellow Elementary for National Walk to School Day.
The crowd held hands, looked both ways and were happy to follow Lt. Carolyn Gordon who led everyone through the Pasadena neighborhood at around 7:30 a.m. while she shared her insights on safety practices for school children.
“What’s more community than walking your kids to school,” said Pasadena Police Chief John Perez, who joined the early morning walkers. “This is what neighborhood is all about. You walk kids to school and they start the day with a positive experience and that makes a difference in their whole day.”
As Lt. Gordon made her way down Rio Grande Street in Pasadena, kids and their family members who lived in the community joined the group as the crowd would pass their homes. The group continued to grow as each block passed and more students and their families dovetailed into the walk.
Johanna Page, a parent at Longfellow Elementary, makes a point to walk her daughter to and from school as often as she can. Sometimes, driving can feel faster, she said. But once she deals with traffic at the drop off/pick up or finds a place to park – walking is the better choice.
“Our daughter was super excited to do this today,” Page said. “She was dressed and ready to go early this morning and this has turned out to be a great event for all of us.”
The National Walk to School event is also part of Pasadena’s month-long celebration Walktober, an event which promotes and celebrates the City’s walkability.
According to Lt.
For Gordon, being a smart walker is abiding the safety rules of the road. She made sure to explain the precautions for children and their parents for maneuvering through the Pasadena’s busy streets.
“What does this mean?” Gordon puts her hand up for the children to see.
“Stop!!” the kids yell.
“And what does this mean,” Gordon waves her hand.
“Go!!” the kids screamed before bursting into applause.
“This was a lot of fun,” said Assembly member Chris Holden (District 41), who joined the Pasadena PD and Longfellow Elementary for the walk through the neighborhood. “It is great to have a neighborhood school involving their students and parents in something like this. It’s a great reminder on safety. This brought everyone together and connected the community with the Police Department. Plus, I was able to get in some steps in today.”