Kids in Motion
Kids in Motion (KIM) is a project that focuses on active transportation educational programs that encourage young people and their families in the Billings community to make healthy transportation choices. The goal of this program is to increase bicycling and walking rates through outreach and education and to eliminate barriers to non-motorized transportation.
KIM provides young people with the tools to be independent and successful members of the community while encouraging healthy and economically beneficial lifestyle choices. This is done by facilitating bicycle maintenance clinics targeted to low- and moderate-income (LMI) students, by developing community-focused active transportation education materials, and by outfitting students with bicycle lights to improve visibility and safety while riding.
This program serves elementary and middle school students and their families in the Billings Public School system. The major partners and funders of KIM are the City of Billings, St. Vincent Health Care Mission Fund, Billings Public Schools, Billings Education Foundation, TrailNet, the Spoke Shop, and Billings Metro VISTA Project.
The project has reached about 1,500 elementary students over the past few years (about 35-50% LMI). KIM has seen success in a partnership built between the City of Billings and Billings Public Schools that lead to other cooperative efforts and in a focus for other organizations and businesses in the community to meet goals of community support, volunteerism, and active transportation.
Success of KIM is attributed to the connection drawn between riding or walking to school and improved community health. A responsive planning committee of funders and program supporters was formed because of KIM. The program has even gathered roughly 20 volunteers. Accessible materials were developed for the students in Billings Public Schools.
When asked for advice for up and coming programs, Wyeth Friday, Director of Planning and Community Services Department of the City of Billings and Yellowstone County, he said, “Early in the process, identify partners in your community who are already focused on elements of what you wish to achieve.”
For more information about this program, visit the KIM website at https://kidsinmotionvolunt.wixsite.com/kimbillings
According to the CDC, “Regular physical activity can help children and adolescents improve cardiorespiratory fitness, build strong bones and muscles, control weight, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and reduce the risk of developing health conditions such as, heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, obesity,” (CDC, 2020). It is also important to integrate activity into children’s lives to make this a healthy habit they continue in adulthood. Physical activity has been found to be beneficial in not only children’s physical health but also their emotional health (Nieman, 2002). For more information, visit the websites listed below.