Inter-generational Walking Project: Stephens Middle School and Center 50+

Through a partnership with AARP-Oregon and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, Inter-generational Safe Streets Challenge recipient Just Walk Salem Keizer worked with Stephens Middle School in Salem, Oregon. Here’s their exciting success story. 

In collaboration with Just Walk Salem Keizer, OSU Extension Service, and Salem Leadership Foundation, students at Stephens Middle School and volunteers from Center 50+ (senior center) conducted an inter-generational walking project in support of the Inter-generational Safe Streets Challenge.

The project engaged twenty-three students from the Stephens Middle School leadership class and 8 volunteers from Center 50+. Students were divided into six groups, with at least one adult volunteer in each group. Over eight sessions, students worked with the volunteers to develop their route, cross-check the route with the Walkable America Walkability Checklist, make changes, cross-check again, and then finalize the route. A total of six routes were developed. Students shared their routes and experiences in a presentation to peers and stakeholders on May 23, 2017. Eight students, representing four groups, were invited to share their presentation with transportation planners from Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments (June 8, 2017) and Salem City Council (June 12, 2017).

During the presentations, students shared why they picked their route and the overall experience with the project. Some of the reasons for choosing the routes included trees, nice destination, sidewalks, accessibility, and room to walk. Students shared that it was challenging at first to work with the seniors, but by the end they did appreciate the interaction and recognized the importance of teamwork.


At least four of the walking routes will be included in a WanderWalks full-color glossy map, which is scheduled to be printed and disseminated in 2018.

Volunteer videographers Laurel Grove and Paul Seesing with the local community television network (Capitol Community Television – CCTV) documented much of the project on video.  The video will be used for educational purposes, and will also be shown on CCTV Channel 22 ten times between June 22 and July 11, 2017.

Voices from the project

“This project is important because we get to make walking routes for both young and older people to enjoy. It also allows us to point out problems like cracks in the sidewalks, no sidewalks at all, not enough room to walk, cars driving too fast, and litter.”

“We created a walk that is walkable for all people with different types of needs, including wheelchairs and strollers.”

“Working together to finalize our route was a great opportunity to learn from each other and hear different perspectives.”

“It was inspiring to work with these energetic and intelligent teens who were willing to take on more than their typical workload to make a meaningful contribution to their world.”

Great work, Just Walk Salem Keizer & Stephens Middle School!


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