CULVER CITY, Calif. -- Melina Antonio is gearing up for a day of school, but instead of getting into her dads’ car, the sixth-grader is hopping on her bike.
She rides to school every day. Even though it's early, she loves it.
Today, as usual, she stops by her friend’s house so they can ride together. Melina says it makes her energized and it allows her to spend more time with her friends.
"It’s really fun when you are biking with a bunch of people you know and they are your age," said Melina.
Melina and her crew take the same route every day. It's faster (They actually beat us driving in a car!), and most importantly, it's safer.
"We all look out for each other and have each other’s backs. We also have cellphones just in case," said Melina.
It seems many other kids in Culver City have the same mindset. There is a huge bike rack full of bikes outside Melina's middle school.
Many ride their bikes to class because of the Walk and Rollers program. The program is sponsored by a non-profit that goes into schools to teach children how they can safely walk and bike to school.
Jim Shanman is the program's founder and wants to teach students life skills, time management, and responsibility, as well as keep them active.
"We want them to do their part to reduce obesity and asthma levels. We want them to reduce the number of cars and pollution around campuses," said Shanman.
Walk and Rollers has a "Safe Routes to School" program that Melina participates in. The program also holds community events and workshops, all in the hopes that more students will bike or walk to school.
"Our mantra is each block and every day you don’t drive makes a difference," said Shanman.
Melina feels like she is making a difference. She says biking instead of driving helps the environment.
"It's really fun because you are not polluting the air," said Melina.
There are many benefits to biking or walking to school according to Melina. Take it one block at a time, one day at a time and give it a try.