The Walking College, America Walks’ intensive online training for local advocates, is growing in popularity – we received more than 230 applicants for just 30 spots in this year’s program. However, with the generous support of AARP Livable Communities, America Walks is expanding opportunities for community change agents to build capacity, learn about best practices, and develop a network of peer mentors, by rolling out three State Walking College programs in Georgia, South Dakota, and California.
In each state, about 15 fellowships have been awarded to AARP staff, volunteers, and local leaders working to improve health, safety, access, and quality of life by advancing walkable and livable community policies and designs.
Experienced mentors, including local advocacy leaders and Walking College graduates, have been recruited to facilitate discussion groups and provide individual coaching to fellows developing their Walking Action Plans. State-specific examples and toolkits have been incorporated into the 6-module national curriculum, which was updated this year to emphasize historical injustice and best practices in community organizing.
The Georgia, South Dakota, and California State Walking College Fellows are currently studying Module 2, focused on developing their leadership capacity, and starting to identify goals and strategies for their Walking Action Plans. Over the course of the program, they Fellows will create a blueprint for taking action on a particular problem in their community.
Get to know all the Fellows and Mentors from the 2021 Georgia, South Dakota and California State Walking College Classes.