The director of education and programing at the Salina Art Center has received a national award. Gretchen Boyum has been awarded a Walking College Fellowship as part of the 2018 program.
The Fellowship, which is from America Walks, a national advocacy organization working to empower communities to create safe, accessible, and enjoyable places to walk, will enable Boyum and other advocates from around the country to participate in a five-month training program designed to strengthen local efforts to make communities more walkable and livable.
“We are delighted to welcome Gretchen as a member of the Walking College,” said Emilie Bahr, Walking College Manager with America Walks, “It was a very competitive application process and she will be a great addition to the 2018 class. We look forward to developing her skills and are excited to see her work grow.”
Boyum will complete a six-module distance-education training program this summer, followed by an independent study project in Salina, and then attend Walk/Bike/Places in New Orleans in the fall. “I am excited and honored to have been selected for this fellowship,” says Boyum.
Boyum moved to Salina in March 2017 to accept the position of Director of Education and Programming at the Salina Art Center. She enjoys being able to walk through downtown almost daily.
“One of the things that I liked about Salina was that I would be able to walk to work; that was an important factor when we decided to move here. There are a lot of exciting things happening in Salina with the downtown redevelopment, and I look forward to working with the city and other organizations and businesses to create initiatives that incorporate the arts to promote walking and create a thriving downtown.”
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. Fellows work with other members of their class and a set of experienced mentors to develop the knowledge and skills needed to create community change. At the conclusion of the Walking College, Fellows will develop a Walking Action Plan for implementation using their new skills.
About America Walks: America Walks, a nonprofit national organization, is leading the way in empowering communities to create safe, accessible, and enjoyable walking conditions for all. We provide a voice for walking and walkable communities with federal agencies, provide strategy support, training and technical assistance to statewide, regional, and local organizations, and serve as the convener of the national Every Body Walk! Collaborative. Together, America Walks and the Every Body Walk! Collaborative boast 700 allied organizations who across the nation are working to increase walking and support walkable communities for all members. More at www.americawalks.org.