Feet First, Washington State’s only pedestrian advocacy organization, represents people of all ages looking for safe, accessible, and inviting ways to go by foot. For the past ten years, we have been the established leader in promoting walking in Washington. We are now ready to catalyze a new generation of walking advocates by expanding our youth programming. We are actively seeking out-of-school program partners to work with us to develop and implement a problem-based STEM and civic advocacy youth program. The youth in the program will learn STEM methods to answer the question, “What do people need in order to walk here?” They will use the answer to advocate for changes in their neighborhoods safety, mobility, and access for all. We are particularly interested in partnering with groups who work with traditionally underserved youth.
Feet First is ready to ramp up our commitment to youth. Our previous youth programming has mainly revolved around our Safe Routes to school work. We recognize the limits of this program and are ready to expand beyond it. We will combine our technical knowledge of mapping, engineering, and urban infrastructure with our community-engagement and political advocacy work. This will allow us to offer youth the skills and content knowledge, community connections, and sense of efficacy necessary to be successful and engaged in college, career, and community.
The question of how to ensure walkability is fluid. The investigations youth choose to pursue in order to answer this question can align to a number of academic, civic, and emotional competencies and standards. For example, the Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Practice require students to “make sense of problems and persevere in solving them,” and “use appropriate tools strategically,” among others. The curriculum could offer students the opportunity to use technology to record traffic speed, learn different types of traffic calming techniques, and decide which one would be most appropriate. National civic education standards seek citizens who “monitor the adherence of political leaders and governmental agencies to constitutional principles.” Using the data they collected, youth could advocate for infrastructure changes that would ensure their communities are governed equitably by government officials and policies. The Youth Development Executives of King County Regional Theory of Change looks for programming that will help youth “achieve meaningful connection to community” and “participate in public life.” Youth could use their advocacy platform as a means of community engagement and public participation. This is just one example: there are many different directions youth could go in order to answer the question.
Feet First is excited about this expansion and actively seeks partners for our work. We do not currently have funding for this project. We can bring a passion for and experience in walking advocacy and community engagement, the steps needed to build STEM and civic advocacy competencies, and expertise in problem-based learning. You bring your own desired competencies and outcomes, a passion for community engagement, and a program site with staff and youth. Together we will build a program that moves forward your mission as well as ours, and most importantly, meets the needs of our community’s youth.
Contact: Teresa Frizell, Safe Routes to School Program Director