Wolverine role models escort Whetstone kids in ‘Safe Walk Home’ program


Elijah Davis

Watkins Mill High School students welcome their elementary school students with a "Safe Walk Home" sign

Jessica Cruz

Whetstone Elementary School’s “Safe Walk Home” program kicked off this school year on October 24, allowing Rec Zone students give back to the community. The program will run until May 17, 2018.

Many residents and county officials have concerns about unattended elementary students after school, which led to a desire to create a program where elementary students could walk home in a positive and productive way. After planning and partnering with Montgomery County Public Schools and Montgomery County Recreation Youth Development, the Whetstone “Safe Walk Home” program launched in the spring of 2014.

“I really like this program because it builds a community between the high schools and elementary schools,” Rec Zone Event Coordinator Alicia Escoto said. “It also allows the parents to see that we want to be a part of this community and we care about the students.”

Watkins Mill High School student volunteers board bus #16001 at 2:30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays to go to Whetstone Elementary. The volunteers split into two groups then greet the Whetstone walkers as they leave school, making sure the kids cross the street safely. They also walk with them into their neighborhoods.

“I think it’s a really great program and helps you get your [student service learning hours] while hanging out with small children,” sophomore Hailey Gordon said. “Overall it’s a plus.”

Before the kids go home, they stop by the local playground where they play soccer, basketball and other games. Rec Zone staff makes sure everyone is safe and has fun. Staff members also talk to parents about the program.

Around 4pm, all volunteers meet back at Whetstone Elementary to head back to Watkins Mill High School via school bus or Montgomery County vehicles.  

To volunteer, students must be signed up with Rec Zone. Students can register for Rec Zone and the “Safe Walk Home” program by filling out a form in the main office, media center, auxiliary gym at lunch, or cafeteria after school. Students can sign up anytime throughout the school year. 

“Watkins Mill students get the benefit of being role models, while strengthening their professional development. The program is truly a great opportunity to give back and add value to the immediate community,” Rec Zone director Elijah Davis said.

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