Providence Firefighters Cover All Walking School Bus Shifts All Week

PROVIDENCE, RI – May 5th through 9th  is “Providence Firefighter Week” for the Walking School Bus, as eight to 14 firefighters daily will volunteer their time to help young children in Providence’s South End arrive at school and return home safely.

The Walking School Bus provides routes to and from Mary E. Fogarty and the Robert L. Bailey, IV elementary schools led by volunteers.  The initiative ensures that each child, living within a mile of the school, with no bus transportation, arrives on time and returns home safely, even when a family member is unable to walk with him or her.  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.

“A number of Providence firefighters have been participating in the Walking School Bus for months, but we are truly overwhelmed with this stepped up commitment to cover all four routes to and from school for the week,” said Family Service of Rhode Island CEO Margaret Holland McDuff.

Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven M. Paré will be leading the Walking School Bus beginning at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, May 5, from Fogarty Elementary. “Having an opportunity to positively impact a young child is so important for the public safety team,” he said. “They will see firefighters in a different role that may inspire our youth in becoming Providence firefighters.”

He noted that the heightened commitment by the firefighters gives them the chance to interact with school children outside the school, fire station or emergency call.  “This programs connects the public safety team to the community we serve.”

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.

Family Service of Rhode Island has invited a number of community leaders to lead the Walking School Bus to raise awareness of the program and to help recruit volunteers.  Anyone interested in volunteering should call 401-331-1350 ext. 3457.

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

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