September 4, 2015
As she toils to defeat adversity, Shanita McIntosh, mother of five (three of which are school aged), is very pleased that she chose the Walking School Bus program to assist her. “ It is a very good program. If it weren’t for them she would be a truant child,” referring to her daughter who attends Lewis Lemon Elementary School in the city’s Ellis Height’s neighborhood. McIntosh is a widow who moved here from Chicago to beat the high rental rates and other high expenses. She came to Rockford because the cost of living was lower and the low-income housing opportunities were greater than that of Chicago. At the time of her relocation, she had a child transitioning into middle school, one in fifth grade, and the youngest in third grade.
Due to various health issues and a recent knee surgery, she was unable to get her children to school on time each day. And with her living too close to receive bus transportation, the Walking School Bus was a lifesaver for her. The Walking School Bus provided McIntosh peace of mind knowing that her children were with safe adults, would arrive to school on time, and would receive a nutritious meal to start the day. When asked if she would recommend the program to anyone else, she responded “of course; in a heartbeat.” Shanita McIntosh is just one of many parents that benefit from this program. The Walking School Bus continues to build healthy minds ands bodies while steadying the hearts of parents with students enrolled.
The YMCA’s Walking School Bus currently has three routes that serves Lewis Lemon and Ellis Elementary Schools. They hope to continue to expand the programs and its services.