Safe Routes Scoop
Striding for Gold in Hudson County

The Program in Action
HTMA’s first Golden Sneaker Award Program was held as a pilot project at the Dr. Walter F. Robinson School in Bayonne, NJ. All the students in the 2nd and 3rd grade classes participated. Mrs. Zackowski’s 3rd grade class walked the most steps, winning the first Golden Sneaker contest by walking 86.33 miles. The second place winners, Ms. Alessi’s 2nd grade class, covered 84 miles and the third place winners, Mrs. LaParre’s 3rd grade class, walked 73.66 miles. All of the children who participated received an honorary certificate to acknowledge their excellent walking efforts. HTMA rewarded the winners of the contest with a pizza party and the Golden Sneaker trophy, which is displayed in the school.


As he thanked all the students and educators who participated in the pilot program, Jay Di Domenico noted that he felt the program “was so well received because it gave families an opportunity to participate with their children.” The Golden Sneaker Award Program encourages children to urge their parents to walk with them to as many destinations as possible. The Director pointed out that, “Walking is a good way for families to spend more time together and for children to learn to make smarter decisions that help reduce traffic and pollution within their community. It also allows them to start a healthy habit now, and still have fun!”

Golden Sneakers throughout the County
After the success of the event at Robinson School, HTMA was ready to expand the Golden Sneaker Award program to other Hudson County schools. In 2009, roughly 200 students participated in the program’s second year. On May 29, 2009 Ms. Mulcahy and Ms. Valentin’s 2nd grade class of P.S. 16 Cornelia F. Bradford Elementary School in Jersey City won the 2009 Golden Sneaker Award. DiDomenico hopes to expand the program. He revealed that they are currently targeting eight schools for the spring of 2010. Hudson TMA expects to see the program continue to grow throughout Hudson County as it has been designed to be self-sustaining. HTMA’s arrangements with the schools they work with empower the schools to manage most of the program themselves. The Director says that eventually, Hudson TMA would like to see the program expand into each of the more than 100 schools within the County. In addition to the students and educators they have been working with, the Golden Sneaker Award Program has been a favorite of the TMA staff as well. The program has allowed them to build great relationships with students, schools, and the local community. Despite the workload related to overseeing the expansion of the program, DiDomenico says that the events with kids are the “most fun” part of his job and that he and his staff “look forward to this all year.”

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