For the past month, a Cramer & Anderson attorney and a paralegal have been taking walks while on the job—as role models helping Sarah Noble Intermediate School (SNIS) provide students with an educational experience that stresses the importance of the 4E’s: exercise, eating well, environmental awareness and emotional health.
“I and a paralegal in our office, Kelly Simpson, are acting as sponsors for Joseph Raps’ fifth grade class for the 10th year of the Sarah Noble Intermediate School’s Walking Project, encouraging kids to get out and exercise, eat right, respect the environment, and maintain emotional health,” said Cramer & Anderson attorney Abigail Miranda. “We walk with them (we were all given pedometers to keep track of our steps), talk about healthy living, and act as role models.”
The four-week program began May 4 and concluded Friday, June 3, with a closing assembly that celebrated the students’ efforts and achievements, while also honoring community and business sponsors. Cramer & Anderson has been a Gold Sponsor each year since the beginning of the Walking Project in 2007. (A full list of sponsors is on the Walking Project’s webpage.)
“Attorney John Tower passed the baton onto me,” said Attorney Miranda, who found that the students both enjoyed the initiative and engaged with the messages it embodied. She and Paralegal Kelly Simpson walked on the paved track at SNIS with Mr. Raps’ class for an hour each Tuesday and Thursday over the four-week period.
Participants were outfitted with pedometers, and the goal for this year was to reach 52,016 miles.
The experience was special for Mrs. Simpson, who has participated in the Walking Project for several years and this year got to walk with her son Zachary, a student in Mr. Raps’ class.
“Every year I get to bond with the fifth grade. It’s pretty neat,” she said. “It’s really rewarding. It’s a great way to get the kids outside, and it also helps to build the kids self-esteem since it is an avenue for them to express themselves outside the classroom with other adults (the sponsors). We as sponsors take away memorable experiences.”
“The Walking Project is this great combination of the community and the school system taking on the epidemic of childhood obesity,” said Attorney Tower, who participated the first nine years of the project before passing the baton to Attorney Miranda. “It’s an important project that brings members of the community together with school administrators, teachers and students to work together for greater community health.”
The best part, though, are the students themselves. “I found them to be vibrant and interesting in their view of the world,” said Attorney Tower, while Mrs. Simpson remarked that she bonded with the girls in the class, joking that at the fifth grade level they’re much more talkative than the boys.
“The school and the committee are trying to inspire the kids to take on a healthy lifestyle,” Diane D’Isidori, a pediatrician and member of the SNIS Walking Project committee, told The Greater New Milford Spectrum. “The younger students really look forward to fifth grade because they get to walk around the track and celebrate at the closing ceremony… It’s an amazing program.”
A handout on this year’s Walking Project explained that the initial objective was to challenge students in fifth grade to increase their level of exercise throughout the day by giving them pedometers and having them record in a classroom log the total number of steps they took.
The Walking Program’s success led to an expansion of its goals to include education on nutrition, the environment and stress reduction. Activities at home and family involvement in the effort were encouraged.
“The kids really came to know us and be comfortable sharing their interests, work, and projects they had been working on,” Attorney Miranda said. “We talked about walking project-related goals and activities, but they also opened up about their personalities, friendships, and the move to Schaghticoke Middle School next year.”
As for Cramer & Anderson’s commitment to community-enriching efforts, Attorney Miranda said, “It felt important to me to be a part of something in our community that wasn’t all about networking or business-generating, but rather helping to enrich and educate our community’s kids in a way that felt fun for them. I hope they took as much away from it as I did.”
Attorney Miranda works in the firm’s New Milford office, which may be reached at 860-355-2631. She may be reached by email at email@example.com.