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York City charter school students pinky-promise to stay active

JESSICA SCHLADEBECK
YorkDispatch

The gray skies and rain might've stopped students from pedaling their way to York City Hall to celebrate National Bike to School Day, but it didn't stop them from dancing.

Lincoln and Helen Thackston charter schools, along with officials from the City of York, Eat, Play, Breathe York and Rep. Kevin Schreiber, D-York City, were shuffled into the elementary school's gym.

There, they danced along to hits like the Cupid Shuffle and live music offered by the school's chorus and the YWCA's Temple Guard.

"How could I not want to come out and have some fun with these students?" Schreiber said, making them all pinky promise to stay active and safe during their vacation. "We can have lots of fun and we can stay active this summer."

Physical wellness: Bike to School Day emphasizes the importance of increasing physical activity among children and creating safer routes for bicycling and walking while reducing traffic congestion and raising concern for the environment.

"We try to put physical movement into everything we do," said Anne Clark, community outreach director for Lincoln and Helen Thackston charter schools. "The community that we live in isn't always safe, and yes, that is something we need to work on, but we still have to make sure the kids go out and enjoy the playgrounds and ride their bikes and stay active in any way they can."

The American League of Bicyclists last year named York a Bicycle Friendly Community after an ongoing effort to bring more biking and walking trails to the city.

"We want all the students to get their friends and to be able to ride their bikes and do it safely," Cori Strathmeyer with Eat Play Breathe said.

Emotional wellness: During the event, Lincoln Charter School was presented with a $9,969 check from York College students who raised money for the school to build a Buddy Bench, an idea developed by a Roundtown Elementary School student in Central York School District.

A buddy bench is a safe place for students to seek guidance or companionship when they're feeling down or alone.

First grader Savannah Queen was named Lincoln's first official "buddy."

"To be a buddy you to have to be good to one another and help people who are sad and lonely," she said.

Reach Jessica Schladebeck at jschladebeck@yorkdispatch.com