If you happen to see a couple hundred kids walking down your street this month, stop and give them a wave, or maybe a word of encouragement. They’re walking for health — not their own, but for the health of others.
They’re students of Preston Hollow Elementary, walking approximately one mile around the school to raise money for diabetes. It will be the third walk in a year at the school, where it’s quickly becoming something of a tradition.
Physical education teacher Julie DiBiase organizes the events, made available to at least 900 students who raise at least a few dollars in donations. She starts by educating the students on the disease they’re raising money for, so they’ll know just why they’re doing it. On the day of the walk, all participants get out of class early, finishing up just in time for a snack before school’s out for the day.
DiBiase started the walks last spring, after receiving a flyer in the mail about diabetes.
“I thought it’d be a great thing for the kids to do, because it’s a healthy activity,” she says. “But mostly I wanted to show them that we can make a difference in our community, to help people.”
About 100 kids participated in the first walk. It was such a success they did another walk last fall, that time raising money for leukemia in honor of former Preston Hollow teacher Charles Nease. Diagnosed with the disease last year, Nease started the walk as a special guest. (He since has moved to Kramer Elementary.)
Beverly Kohrs, a parent and volunteer at Preston Hollow, estimates around 200 kids walked last fall.
“The kids just love it,” she says. “They’re into the cause, and they really want to help.”
The walks are successful in raising health awareness among the participants, as well as money for research: They’ve raised more than $7,000 through the walks so far.
DiBiase says the kids have a good time at the event, but the reasons behind the walk give real meaning to it.
“It really makes them feel good knowing they’re helping,” she says. “I can’t tell you how proud they are when they come and bring me their money. They don’t have to say a word; you can see it in their eyes.”
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Preston Hollow.