Black History Focus of Walking School Bus Wednesday, February 26, 3 p.m.

PROVIDENCE, RI – Leah Williams Metts, chairwoman of Providence’s NAACP Youth Council, will be among a number of community leaders marking Black History Month through participation in Family Service of Rhode Island’s Walking School Bus Wednesday afternoon (February 26).

“Thank you to Family Service of Rhode Island for initiating the Walking School Bus in the city’s South Side as well as this opportunity to raise awareness of black history among our youngest students,” she said.  Ms. Williams Metts, a regular Walking School Bus volunteer, encouraged others to volunteer. Anyone interested in volunteering should call 401-331-1350 ext. 3457 or visit the Walking School Bus’s Facebook page,

Participants will gather at at 3 p.m. at Fogarty Elementary School, 199 Oxford Street, Providence on Wednesday. Posters with photos of past black community leaders will be carried by walkers.

The Walking School Bus provides routes to and from Providence’s Fogarty and Bailey elementary schools led by volunteers.  The initiative ensures that each child, living within a mile of the school, who needs to walk, arrives on time and returns home safely, even when a family member is unable to walk with him or her.

Ms. Leah Williams Metts will be joined by Kobi Dennis, founder of Project: Night Vision, an evening youth program.  Mr. Kobi is a 2012 recipient of the Jefferson Award for community service.

“The Walking School Bus is a community treasure.  Many thanks to Family Service of Rhode Island for making it happen at Fogarty Elementary and, most recently, for Bailey Elementary students,” he said.  “I’ve participated in the Walking School Bus and have seen firsthand the difference it is making in the lives of our youngest, most vulnerable students.”

Staff from the South Side Boys and Girls Clubs, and representatives from the Rhode Island State Police are also slated to join the walkers.

Family Service of RI has invited a number of community leaders to lead the Walking School Bus to raise awareness of the program and to help recruit volunteers.

The Walking School Bus is reducing school tardiness and absenteeism. The program also promotes a positive community spirit as volunteers and school children walk through the neighborhoods surrounding the schools.

The Walking School Bus is part of Family Service of Rhode Island’s “Providence Children’s Initiative,” a comprehensive, collaborative program to improve educational and social development outcomes for children and families.

Family Service of RI is a statewide non-profit human service and educational organization.  More information is available at

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