By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) Davis Anderson, Navy Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs
CINCINNATI (NNS) -- Sailors from the Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Cincinnati helped students in the Avondale neighborhood of Cincinnati get to school Aug. 31 during one of the community service events at Cincinnati Navy Week 2011.
The program, called the Walking School Bus, is a way for teachers, faculty and parents of children in Cincinnati Public Schools to make sure that the children safely make it to and from school.
"We had a lot of students who were walking to school by themselves, unsupervised," said Cheron Reid, principal at Rockwood Academy in Avondale. "We said, 'Something has to be done.'"
What they did was take an existing program and make it their own.
"The Ohio Department of Transportation had the Safe Routes to Schools, it had never been implemented in public schools, so we figured we would be the first pilot school to do it," said Reid. "The school board and the district were right on board with us. The parents were on board and it's been taking off ever since."
Everybody involved was excited to see representatives from the Navy out helping with the Walking School Bus. "Oh, it was wonderful," said Reid. "If we could have the Navy every day it would be even better. It was awesome to see them out in the community, the community responded very well to them."
This community relations event is just one area where the Navy is able to help in the community in addition to all of the humanitarian assistance they offer around the world.
"It was nice having the Navy here, just that extra reinforcement that lets the community know it's bigger than just Avondale," said Reid. "This is an issue across the world, where children are not making it to school safe. It's a very harsh world and to have [the Navy] out there supporting what we're doing - it's powerful."
The children, teachers and Sailors had a good time walking to school.
"Most of them thought we were the police, because I guess, we're in uniform and everything," said Builder 2nd Class Theodore Berry from NOSC Cincinnati, "but other than that, they had fun."
This event gave the Sailors stationed at the NOSC several opportunities, such as helping the community they live in and showing the greater Cincinnati community their desire and willingness to make the region a better place.