Local Advocate Receives National Award from America Walks

Local Advocate Receives National Award from America Walks
Maria Sipin to participate in “Walkable Communities” training program

Maria Sipin awarded America Walks 2016 Walking College fellowship

Maria Sipin, advisory board member for Multicultural Communities for Mobility, awarded America Walks 2016 Walking College fellowship

Los Angeles, CAAmerica Walks, a national advocacy organization that promotes walking and walkable communities, announced today that Maria Sipin of Multicultural Communities for Mobility has been awarded a Walking College Fellowship.

The Fellowship will enable Sipin and 24 other advocates from around the country to participate in a four-month training program designed to strengthen local efforts to make communities more walkable. “We are delighted to welcome Maria Sipin as a member of our 2016 Walking College class,” said Ian Thomas, State and Local Program Director with America Walks, “This program was developed in response to our findings that access to technical assistance and a national peer network are among the most pressing needs for advocates working at the local level.”

Maria Sipin will complete a six-module distance-education training program this summer and participate in the international Pro Walk, Pro Bike, Pro Place conference in Vancouver, British Columbia in September.

“I’m looking forward to applying what I gain from the Walking College to address the high number of injuries and deaths affecting people walking in Los Angeles, especially in low-income neighborhoods and areas where people walk or bike as their primary mode of transportation. In these communities, people are walking in large numbers so it’s not just a matter of getting more people to walk; it’s about making places safer and better for walking.”

Maria Sipin is a community advocate who is passionate about transportation in Los Angeles and is an experienced bike safety instructor who works with children and adults. She volunteers for Multicultural Communities for Mobility and serves as an advisory board member to prioritize equitable policies and programs to address the needs of people who walk, bike and use public transportation in Los Angeles. She participates in the Los Angeles Vision Zero Alliance and serves as a Metro council member for the Westside Central service area.

“There are local initiatives such as the Mobility Plan and Vision Zero and existing organizations doing this work, and I would like to complement what’s happening now, focus on one or two districts, collaborate, and generate support and funding to create safer streets, sidewalks, and places. There’s a role for everyone to play in creating more walkable communities.”

The Walking College curriculum has been designed to expand the capacity of local advocates to be effective community change agents. Topics include the science behind the benefits of walking, evaluation of built environments, as well as communication skills and building relationships with stakeholders and decision makers. At the conclusion of the Walking College, Fellows will develop a task-oriented Strategic Plan for improving walkability in their communities.

Donate to Maria’s GoFundMe campaign to support her project: https://www.gofundme.com/walking_fellowship

See More: www.americawalks.org/news

About The Walking College: The Walking College is supported with funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Public Health Association, and the Every Body Walk! Collaborative. Mentoring will be provided by national leaders in the field, including representatives of WalkBoston, Circulate San Diego, the PedNet Coalition, and Walk2Connect. More info. at www.americawalks.org/walkingcollege2016/.

About America Walks: America Walks is the only national organization devoted exclusively to making America a great place to walk. America Walks consists of a network of more than 700 partner and allied organizations, working to increase walking and create more safe, accessible and inclusive places to walk. Programs include on-line technical assistance, community-based workshops, convenings such as the National Walking Summit, federal advocacy initiatives, and increasing financial resources for local action. America Walks also maintains the Every Body Walk! Collaborative, a national partnership focused on increasing the visibility of walking and cultivating consumer demand for more walkable places. More info. at www.americawalks.org.

About Multicultural Communities for Mobility:

Multicultural Communities for Mobility (MCM), a project of Community Partners, organizes for safe and accessible transportation for low-income communities of color in Los Angeles. MCM has nearly 10 years experience in community empowerment and movement-building to serve people who walk, bike, and use public transit as their primary transportation. MCM has a colorful history of teaching bicycle safety to people of all ages, leading walking and biking tours connecting neighbors with art and history, and leading the charge for social justice-driven active transportation work. Today, MCM is a growing organization that is dedicated to bridging grassroots needs and public processes.

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