Alderman visits Froebel Elementary’s Walk Ambassadors
The goals of Trailnet’s Walk Ambassadors Program are to teach elementary school students about the benefits of active living, safe pedestrian behaviors, and ways in which kids can advocate for making their communities better places for walking. Students in the Leadership Development Program at Froebel Literacy Academy have participated in the program for several years.
20th Ward Alderman Cara Spencer paid a visit to the Leadership students on December 3 and got to hear about what the students liked and what they would like to change about their community. Each student also had an opportunity to ask a question of their alderman.
Some of the things that the students liked about their neighborhood included: “my school, my friends, the crossing guard, the stores, the parks, I can walk to places…” The students’ concerns about where they lived ranged from high rates of violence and drug use to the presence of abandoned buildings and trash on the streets to noisy neighbors and “pooping” dogs and cats.
The students’ most poignant questions stemmed from their concerns about neighborhood safety. Spencer’s answers were thoughtful and honest and led to interesting exchanges with her young constituents. In response to a student asking “why people kill other people,” Spencer acknowledged the many factors that can lead to violence and the inability to know exactly what drives people to carry out these acts. A leadership student offered the idea that “they want something that the other person has.”
Students concerned about litter in the neighborhood were assured that more trash containers would be installed and that Spencer was planning a clean-up day that she hoped would include the students’ participation.
When asked if she “would give a homeless person a hundred dollars,” Alderman Spencer described some of the many services that are available to the homeless in St. Louis and admitted the scope of the problem by saying that she could not afford to give money to all those experiencing homelessness.
More lighthearded questions included “what did you eat for Thanksgiving?” Answer: “everything.” And “what kind of car do you drive?” Answer: “a square one.”
Spencer also defined her motivation to seek political office in response to the question “what does an alderman do?” Answer: “An alderman works to make a community a better place to live.”
Froebel Literacy Academy and Trailnet are grateful to Spencer for taking time to talk with the Leadership students. Her visit made quite an impression on the students, as evidenced by some of the comments in their thank you notes to the alderman:
“Thanks for making Ward 20 a safer and better place for young and old people to live.”
“I want to be like you when I grow up.”
“I hope we did not make you tired.”
“You R the greatest.”