Kids like to do good, but sometimes it's easier when you have a little extra help. That could mean support from a parent, teacher or friend, but it also could be a little financial help in the form of a grant. A grant is an award of money to a person or organization, often for doing something positive or helpful.
Last fall Maury Elementary in Washington, D.C., was one of five schools nationwide to get a $5,000 grant in a challenge aimed at encouraging more kids to walk or bike to school. About 1,000 schools participated in the Walk to School Challenge organized by cleaning products manufacturer Green Works and the National Center for Safe Routes to School, said David Kargas, a spokesman for Green Works. Kids earned “footprints” for the time they spent walking or riding a bike to school, and Maury recorded the third-highest number of footprints.
The challenge was a natural extension of Maury’s efforts to promote healthful lifestyles. The school lunch menus have been overhauled to be more nutritious; kids have planted gardens; a butterfly garden is planned; and last fall several students won awards at the White House for tracking all their physical activity for six weeks. Also this year, the 288-student school has designated nearby Lincoln Park as a gathering spot on Wednesday mornings, and everyone who goes there then walks to school together. “On nice days it’s almost the whole community,” said the school’s principal, Carolyne Albert-Garvey, who is well known for putting on sneakers and going for a walk at the end of her work day.
“Me and my brother rode our bikes to school” on Wednesday mornings, said Jamari Young, 7, a second-grader at Maury who especially liked riding on the bumpy sidewalks. The challenge may be over, but Jamari is looking forward to warmer weather to “start back up.”
Albert-Garvey said the grant will be used for “activities the kids can do related to healthier, greener living.” One possibility is buying extra plants for students to install on the school’s new green roof. “When you have a lot of volunteers, $5,000 buys you quite a bit.”