by Rachel Swan
Here's something sweet. Faced with increased violent crime in the Richmond area, community organizers found a solution that may, on its face, seem counter-intuitive: Send kids out on the streets. With supervision, that is. This year, Contra Costa Public Health department partnered with a cluster of youth organizations at the Nevin Community Center to form what they call the "walking school bus," a group walk to escort kids home from elementary schools, in Richmond. The kids walk together in pairs, led by adults in yellow traffic vests. "What we thought was going to something that maybe would work, has completely transformed this neighborhood," health department representative Shannon Ladner-Beasley told a KTVU reporter, as she led her walking school bus through the Iron Triangle. Kids say they like getting the exercise. Proponents say that walking helps instill a healthy lifestyle, and will hopefully make the children less fearful in their own communities.