Stories from the State Walking Colleges

… And Other Partnerships with AARP Livable Communities

Walk Audit Toolkit

By Ian Thomas

Working Together to Create Great Places for People of All Ages

Want to make a difference in your community? America Walks and AARP Livable Communities have opened up applications for individuals to apply to our 2023 State Walking Colleges (see below), which train advocates eager to organize in communities to expand access to walkable, vibrant, safe, and accessible places.

What kind of work are we talking about? Check out Stories from the State Walking College: An Idea Book for Taking Action to Create More Walkable Communities, produced by America Walks with support from AARP Livable Communities. This brand-new publication highlights the work of our 2021 and 2022 State Walking College graduates.

Along with articles on first steps for walkable community advocates and getting started with walk audits, Stories from the State Walking College features the following Fellows and their projects:

  • Ariel Hamburger (2021 Fellow working in San Diego, California)
  • Juanita Edwards, Sybil Boutilier, and Vicki Nichols (2021 Fellows: Marin City and Sausalito, California)
  • Keith Larson (2022 Fellow: Peachtree City, Georgia)
  • Natalie Gille (2022 Fellow: Bemidji, Minnesota)

Accepting Applications for the 2023 Walking Colleges

If you’re inspired by these stories and wish to unleash your own passion for walking and improving your community, now is the perfect time to take that first step.  Starting today and continuing until the end of February, America Walks is accepting applications for multiple Walking College programs.

If you live in any of the following states, click on the relevant link for more information about that State Walking College program – offered in partnership with AARP Livable Communities – and the online application form:

And, if you live elsewhere in the U.S. or Canada, please click on this link:

There are a limited number of Fellowships available for each of these programs, so the selection process is competitive.  You are welcome to apply both to a State Walking College (if you live there) and to the national program – if selected, you will only receive a Fellowship to one of them. 

A Webinar about Walk Audits

In another partnership between America Walks and AARP Livable Communities, we are presenting a joint webinar that will include an introduction to the AARP Walk Audit Tool Kit, a panel discussion among Walking College Fellows who have used the Tool Kit to achieve “Quick Wins,” and information about the 2023 AARP Community Challenge grant program.

New in 2023, AARP Community Challenge Capacity-Building Microgrants are available to implement a walk audit using the AARP Walk Audit Tool Kit and with support from America Walks.

For more details and to register for the Tuesday, February 14th (11am Pacific, 2pm Eastern) webinar, click on the following link:

Background on the Partnership

America Walks and AARP share a vision of great places for people of all ages. Common themes include safe streets, neighborhood parks, and shopping, the freedom to live well without needing to own a car, robust public transit service, and walkable community design.  

Our partnership with State Walking Colleges expands upon the impact of the national Walking College, which is funded through our grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2021, the AARP California, Georgia, and South Dakota State Offices hosted State Walking Colleges, and a total of 33 Fellows from those three states developed community-focused Walking Action Plans and graduated from the program. One year later, with the partnership expanding to include Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Texas, another 66 Fellows completed the curriculum and stepped into the difficult work of changing policy and community design.

At America Walks, we are proud of our work with AARP, and look forward to accomplishments of the 2023 classes!