America Walks, a national advocacy organization that promotes walking and walkable communities, announced today that Ann Mansfield, R.N., M.S.N. and project coordinator for NE Iowa Food & Fitness Initiative, has been awarded a Walking College Fellowship.
The Fellowship will enable Ann and 24 other advocates from around the country to participate in a five-month training program designed to strengthen local efforts to make communities more walkable and livable. “We are delighted to welcome Ann Mansfield as a member of our inaugural Walking College class,” said Ian Thomas, state and local program director with America Walks. “This program was developed in response to the finding, from our recent survey of 532 local walking organizations, that access to technical assistance and a national peer network are among the most pressing needs for these groups.”
Mansfield will complete a six-module distance-education training program this summer, followed by a two-month independent study project in northeast Iowa including; Allamakee, Chickasaw, Clayton, Fayette, Howard and Winneshiek counties, and then attend the National Walking Summit in Washington, D.C., at the end of October.
“This is a great opportunity to participate in a national learning community to promote walking and walkability in NE Iowa,” says Mansfield.
With a background in healthcare, Mansfield has held a long-time interest and professional commitment for changing the conditions in communities resulting in increased daily access to healthy food and physical activity for all residents. “This will be a great companion to the regional work of FFI and Safe Routes to School that includes Walking School Buses, Bike Rodeos and Community Coalitions to get more children walking and biking to and from school.”
The Walking College curriculum has been designed to expand the capacity of local advocates to be effective community change agents. Curriculum topics include the science behind the benefits of walking, evaluation of built environments, as well as communication skills and building relationships with stakeholders and decision makers. At the conclusion of the Walking College, Fellows will develop a Community Action Plan for implementation over the following 12-months.
The Walking College
The Walking College is supported with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Every Body Walk! collaborative. Mentoring will be provided by a dozen national leaders in the field, including representatives of AARP, the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, and the Alliance for Biking and Walking. More information is available at www.americawalks.org/walking-college/.
America Walks is the only national organization devoted exclusively to making America a great place to walk. America Walks consists of a network of more than 700 partner and allied organizations, working to increase walking and create more safe, accessible and inclusive places to walk. Programs include online technical assistance; community-based workshops; convening events such as the National Walking Summit; federal advocacy initiatives; and increasing financial resources for local action. America Walks also maintains the Every Body Walk! collaborative, a national partnership focused on increasing the visibility of walking and cultivating consumer demand for more walkable places. More information is available at: www.americawalks.org.