About 350 students from Lethbridge and the area were celebrated for their efforts to keep school zones safe. AMA hosted an appreciation party for student volunteers on May 25 to reward those who committed to a whole school year of safety patrol.
“It really is to show them that the job they do is important. They know that volunteerism is important, that’s why they sign up for this and us recognizing them is really important to say, keep doing this job,” said Allison Purcell, AMA school safety patrol coordinator. “I have been doing this for just over 16 years and just seeing the difference in traffic has been huge—just the amount of safety issues that we see in school zones, it’s really important to have our patrollers trained when they are out there.”
AMA threw a swimming and pizza party for the students who committed to a year of volunteering. Corbyn Tobler is a grade five student who said he had never done after-school activities and volunteered because he wanted to help people.
“I have learned there is more to it than just going home and sitting on the couch,” he said. “I would rather be doing something to help people than to be either on the bus or doing fun activities — I would rather be helping those people cross the road.”
Next school year there will be changes to school zones in Lethbridge, after city council voted to make them the same as playground zones. Purcell said she welcomes the change that will make it easier for drivers to know when speed rules are in effect.
“Schools are used often in the evening for recreational activities — you see in our playgrounds around the city that there are many people using them in the evenings so it just allows that consistency,” she said.