Through rain, snow and sunshine, you can find school safety patrollers outside of Grande Prairie area schools every day, helping their friends cross the street. AMA School Safety Patrol coordinator Shelley Biendarra argues it’s huge in keeping the community safe.
“Kids nine and under don’t have the peripheral vision to see how far traffic is, so you’re keeping them safe. They’re not directing or controlling traffic; they have the sign out and they’re a visual for the drivers. They don’t let them cross until it is safe.”
The AMA is celebrating 77 years without a fatality or injuries at patrolled school crosswalk, greatly in part due the work of more than 16,000 volunteers across the province. 300 of those from the Grande Prairie area were thanked for their work earlier this week with a day of activities and a pizza party.
Biendarra says what they do is more than just helping younger students out.
“It’s leadership skills. Our mayor was a patroller; I was a patroller, so I say, ‘Today you’re a patroller, tomorrow you’re leaders. Today you’re doing something like this, keeping these kids safe, but tomorrow you’re going to be doing something incredible with your life.'”
There are also several partners throughout the community that help the patrol program thrive.