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North Jersey Students Salute Their Safety Valentines During Walk to School Celebration

Students from Mrs. Harris’s Kindergarten class at Durban Avenue Elementary School in Hopatcong showing the Valentines they made for their crossing guards. Photo Credit: Lisa Schuffenhauer, Durban Avenue School Counselor

(Cedar Knolls, NJ)– Several elementary schools across northwest New Jersey held a Walk to School Day with a heartfelt twist – “Salute Your Safety Valentine.” On February 14, students took to the sidewalks on their journey to school, handing out Valentines, smiles, and hugs to show appreciation to the dedicated crossing guards who ensure their safe journeys with a personal touch each day.

The celebration is coordinated annually by Avenues in Motion, a local nonprofit that implements Safe Routes to School programing throughout the region, aimed at getting more students to walk and bike to school and making it safer for them to do so.

Students at Durban Avenue Elementary School in Hopatcong, Netcong Elementary School in Netcong, and Central Avenue School in Madison worked all week coloring the Valentines for their crossing guards during their indoor recess. “There was so much cheer in the air and smiles not only on the children’s’ faces but the Crossing Guards, too,” said Central Avenue School PTO President Shannon Wright.

“The kids are great, I like to greet them every morning,” said Ken Post, a retired Morris County Roads Department employee who had been looking for something meaningful to do in retirement. Post is now a crossing guard at Netcong Elementary School.

“The kids smile at me and say ‘Hi, Mr. Post!’ and it is so enjoyable keeping them safe and they even get to push the button on the flashing crosswalk sign,” Post said. On the 24 degree morning he shrugged off the chill, “it doesn’t really bother me, I just enjoy being out here.”

“Crossing guards are often unsung safety heroes who children and families interact with on a regular basis. They brave the elements and show up each and every day to make sure students get to and from school safely while traveling on foot or bike,” said Emily Gates, Active Transportation Manager at Avenues in Motion.

Gates added, “Walk to School Days are a favorite among the various Safe Routes to School encouragement programs. These events are not only meant to be fun but are also so important in helping communities continue to promote safe walking and rolling to school all year long.”

In addition to sentimentality, this event draws attention to the important role crossing guards play in fostering a safe environment for students and growing their confidence in navigating pedestrian infrastructure. Choosing an active form of transportation not only promotes personal and social health, but also contributes to environmental well-being and less traffic congestion.

Many schools across Morris, Essex, Sussex, and Union County participated in the event, including the Netcong School District, Central Avenue School in Madison, Durban Avenue Elementary School in Hopatcong, Wyoming and Glenwood Elementary Schools in Millburn, Torey J. Sabatini Elementary School in Madison, Riker Hill Elementary School in Livingston, and Hartshorn Elementary School in Short Hills.

About Avenues in Motion
Avenues in Motion, formerly TransOptions, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit Transportation Management Association serving northwestern New Jersey that delivers programs and services to improve mobility, the environment, roadway safety and overall quality of life in northwestern New Jersey. Avenues in Motion assists businesses and commuters with sustainable commuting options, communities with road safety and accessibility efforts, and schools through the Safe Routes to School and Junior Solar Sprints programs, among many others.

For more information about Avenues in Motion and its programs visit

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