Chagrin Falls Mayor Thomas Brick has issued a proclamation that Monday, June 5, 2013 is Volunteer School Crossing Guard Appreciation Day in Chagrin Falls. Students at the Chagrin Falls Intermediate School plan to recognize the volunteer crossing guards at a school award ceremony that morning with poems titled, “Ode to a Crossing Guard”.
Parents and community members are encouraged to smile, wave and say thank you to the guards who volunteer their time in service to our community.
The Village of Chagrin Falls’ volunteer crossing guard program consists of twenty-two volunteers who staff four busy school crossings during the entire school year. Like the postman, neither rain, nor snow, nor speeding cars will keep the volunteers from their posts.
Although volunteer crossing guards are only in students’ lives for a short amount of time each morning and afternoon, their influence lasts a lifetime. They provide protection to the school children of our community as they make their way to and from school by creating a visible presence to remind motorists of the importance of yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks and of driving with caution within school zones. They assist in the pedestrian safety education of school children by modeling and reinforcing safe and legal crossing behaviors. As such, crossing guards are an important component of the Chagrin Falls’ Safe Routes to School program, which makes our community safer for kids to walk and bicycle to school.
Volunteer crossing guards provide crossing assistance for the students from the Chagrin Falls Intermediate School, where 120 students regularly walk to/from school each day. Some guards, including Dick Shanklin, Judy Lawrence, and Kathy Kolcaba are grandparents of students in the Chagrin schools. Others like Barbara Hubbard, Rita Owen and Glenn Wyville are retired teachers. Some are parents and others are community members who want students to be able to walk or bike to school. Regardless of their connection to the program, these volunteers all give selflessly of their time in service to the community. Individual crossing guards for the 2012-2013 school year include: Dick Shanklin, Kathryn Garvey, Teresa Flores, Sandy Tropp, Mary Jane Kelly, Muriel Bean, Barbara Hubbard, Jennifer Levine, Kathy Kolcaba, Tom Landy, Molly Balunek, Judi Lawrence, and Sally Karyo. Substitute crossing guards include Melissa Thomas, Betsey Luce, Alice Kruse, Greta Insolia, Rita Owen, Lisa Varos, Glenn Wyville, Angela DeBernardo and Suzanne Bellini.
Volunteer applications are being accepted now for next school year. Guards work one or more 30 minute shifts each week. Kathryn Garvey manages the crossing guard program and asks community members interested in volunteering to contact her at SafeRoutesChagrin@yahoo.com or to pick up an application at the Chagrin Falls Police Department. Training, uniforms, and all equipment are provided by Safe Routes Chagrin and the Chagrin Falls Police Department.
The Safe Routes Chagrin program is a cooperative endeavor between the Village, the school district, the police department, school-age parents and the community. The goal of the Chagrin Falls program is to give children an active, healthy start and end to the school day, reduce traffic congestion, and improve the health of our community and the environment.