Brockville Walking School Bus leader Evelyn Vanolst has been recognized for her dedication to community leadership at an event to honour people who make a difference in the lives of children and youth.

Celebrated for her kind, compassionate commitment to the safety of children on “Walking Wednesdays” and each day at the crosswalk, Evelyn believes in providing positive experiences along the route and making connections with the kids. With safety always top of mind (she also serves as an adult crossing guard for the City of Brockville) Evelyn is helping to nurture lasting active school travel behaviours.

“Even the little things can make a big difference,” says Evelyn, who takes an interest in the children’s lives and makes sure they get everything they can out of the walk, like stopping to look at nature.

She was one of 35 individuals honoured at the fifth annual “Recognition of Asset Builders” event hosted by the YMCA of Eastern Ontario and organized by the Every Kid in Our Communities Coalition late last month.

“A positive relationship with a caring adult is an important protective factor for children. We are so fortunate to have Walking School Bus leaders, like Evelyn, who provide this additional benefit of walking to school,” says Tawnya Boileau, School Health Coordinator and Active School Travel Project Facilitator with the Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit.

The Health Unit leads Walking the Rural Way, an OAST-funded project designed to address parent concerns and the challenges of active transportation in smaller urban and rural settings.