New Milford school’s Walking Project celebrates 10th anniversary
NEW MILFORD — Sarah Noble School’s Walking Project will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a special closing ceremony at 9 a.m. Friday, June 3, honoring the children, sponsors and parents who have participated over the years.
The Walking Project began in 2006 when a group of community leaders joined together to combat childhood obesity and physical inactivity. The group, which included a pediatrician, dietitian, public health consultant, pediatric nurse and the community outreach coordinator for a local hospital, came up with the idea of giving pedometers to school children.
They approached the principal at Sarah Noble School, who supported the idea and created the four-week walking project course for the fifth-grade class.
The Walking Project is summarized by the 4 Es: exercise, eating well, environmental awareness and emotional health.
More than 30 organizations have sponsored the program over the years by providing pedometers, T-shirts and other incentives. Some of the sponsors even participate in the walking course.
The closing ceremony, which occurs every year after the fifth-grade students complete the four-week project, celebrates the students’ achievements, including the number of miles the students walked. Videos, photos and educational pieces are shared, and the ceremony ends in a dance.
Committee member Diane D’Isidori said the closing ceremony is an “unbelievably joyous event.”
The 10th anniversary celebration will honor 11 “gold” sponsors and the two “silver” sponsors that have supported the program since its inception.
To become a gold sponsor, the organization must donate $300 for the pedometers, T-shirts, and incentives and one hour of time each week walking the track with the students.
D’Isidori said that the committee and school hope to grow the four Es concept by applying it to all grades. For example, D’Isidori mentioned that the large outdoor school courtyard could be envisioned as an outdoor classroom, letting students practice yoga, gardening, walking, etc.
“The school and the committee are trying to inspire the kids to take on a healthy lifestyle,” she said. “The younger students really look forward to fifth grade because they get to walk around the track and celebrate at the closing ceremony... It’s an amazing program.”
The closing ceremony will takes place at the Sarah Noble School gym at 9 am. on June 3.