Thursday, July 18, 2019 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
The organizers of a new program created in large part by parents in Maywood-Melrose Park-Broadview District 89 and designed to make it safer for D89 students to get to and from school are now hiring workers to execute that goal.
Creators of the “Smart Routes to School” program are hiring Smart Route workers and a Smart Route program coordinator to staff the pilot program, which debuts at Irving during the 2019-20 school year. Anyone interested in applying for the positions can click here.
Proviso Township, District 89 and the village of Maywood each contributed $40,000 to fund the program, which is the brainchild of the Safety and Violence Prevention Committee within the Coalition for Spiritual and Public Leadership — a faith-based social justice nonprofit based in Maywood.
The committee identified four smart passage routes along major streets near Irving Middle School, 805 S. 17th Ave. in Maywood — including Washington Boulevard, Madison Street and St. Charles Road — for Smart Route workers to accompany students as they walk to and from school.
In addition to the paid workers, the committee will also recruit “a volunteer base of local adult residents as an additional support base,” Marche Williams, an Irving parent who is the committee’s chairman, told Village Free Press back in March.
The program will cost an estimated $117,952, according to a proposal that Williams submitted to various government bodies earlier this year. Personnel would include eight part-time route workers paid $11 an hour, a full-time Proviso Township Smart Routes director paid $25,000 and roughly $30,000 for supplies, training and liability insurance.
During an interview in March, Lorenzo Webber, the built environment lead for Proviso Partners for Health (PP4H), a network of community partners seeking to address a range of issues in the township, said that the pilot program “will focus on monitoring traffic and having an increased adult presence.” District 89 officials said that these Smart Route workers and volunteers will not replace traditional crossing guards; rather, they’ll provide additional support.
Webber, who also works for Proviso Township’s youth services division and served on a task force for D89’s strategic planning committee, said the Safety and Violence Prevention Committee is the result of a community safety summit that PP4H held in February 2018.
Williams added that increasing the adult pedestrian presence near Irving would also “get kids out walking and riding their bikes to school” instead of “getting dropped off by parents every morning, which creates more traffic.”
To access the Smart Routes applications, click here. VFP
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