The Sto-Rox School District and McKees Rocks Police Department are seeking adults to volunteer to keep an eye out for students returning home from school.
These volunteers will be stationed around the neighborhood in specific areas referred to as “safe passage corridors” They will watch over the students during their walk, keep an eye out for dangers, and help students feel safe as they get to and from school.
Known as “Safe Passage Observers,” these volunteers are not replacing community-paid crossing guards but will supplement their work.
“A safe passage program brings together the school district, local businesses and law enforcement, and community volunteers to create a safe corridor from the various residential neighborhoods to school, according to a release from Communities In Schools Pittsburgh Allegheny County (CISPAC).
“An effective safe passage program, in combination with other anti-violence initiatives, can help students feel safer on their way to school, keep the community more aware, and reduce open violence in public corridors.”
Volunteers are being sought to monitor intersections, short-cut and bus stops after school between 1:45 to 2:20 p.m., Monday through Friday throughout the school year. Free training will be provided to all volunteers to know how to help with crossings, what signs and signals to look out for, and when to report issues to law enforcement.
McKees Rocks Police will aid in the implementation of the program by increasing patrols to cover the areas of the “Safe Passage” while volunteers are out. These volunteer observers will be trained on when to call the police during concerning situations that might arise.
All volunteers would be subject to a background check, for which they’ll be reimbursed.
CISPAC is partnering with the district to provide feedback on the strategy, placement and approach of volunteers. Denise Zellous of Zellous Hope Project is overseeing the recruitment and training of volunteer staff. Both organizations are members of the Grow Sto-Rox initiative. For info or to get connected, email Coordinator Emily Eichner at firstname.lastname@example.org.