Windsor

Combating congestion: Windsor mom of 9 encourages families to walk to school

Lace up your sneakers! It's International Walk to School Day and one Windsor mother of nine is challenging parents to take their foot off the pedal, and spend more time on the sidewalk.

"If you can walk, I always kind of say why not," says Kim Bouchard

Kim Bouchard and three of her boys enjoy walking to school as much as they can. (Jason Viau/CBC)

Lace up your sneakers! It's International Walk to School Day and one Windsor mother of nine is challenging parents to take their foot off the pedal, and spend more time on the sidewalk.

In addition to her busy family life at home, Kim Bouchard is also a trustee with the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board.

Walking her kids to school has always been a tradition she's tried to maintain — even during the humid summer days and frigid cold winters.

However, Bouchard said she's noticed a recent trend that underscores her commitment to walking her kids to school this year.

"Within the last year or so, I've really noticed that the congestion around schools ... it's increased. There's a lot of people driving their kids to school," she said, adding it's become a safety issue.

Bonding time

That's just one reason she chooses her sneakers over her minivan. For Bouchard, and her nine-year-old son Graeme, it's also about staying active and having moments to spend time together.

There's one snail that always comes out, and we have to put him on the grass.- Graeme Bouchard, nine years old

"The time spent, right, because we rush, rush, rush everywhere and I just find that us being able to have those 10 minutes in the morning is nice," said Bouchard.

Count those steps

Those 10 minutes each way, before and after school, amounts to about 4,000 steps, which Bouchard counts religiously.

Graeme Bouchard, left, and his mother Kim take the same route each day when walking to and from school. (Jason Viau/CBC)

For Graeme, who's in Grade 4, it's more about picking up leaves, enjoying nature and chatting with mom.

"I like it because we get to talk while we're walking," he said. "There's one snail that always comes out, and we have to put him on the grass."

Why not walk?

So, for International Walk to School Day — and for all of October, which is International Walk to School Month — Bouchard is encouraging other families to give walking a shot.

"If you can walk, I always kind of say why not," said Bouchard. "I know not everybody can because I know everybody's circumstances are different."

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