Meet The Walking Detective™: KC Healthy Kids’ new advocate for walkable communities

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The Walking Detective™: Teaching Kids to Investigate Their Communities is a new advocacy education resource from KC Healthy Kids. It features a fictional 10-year-old Somali refugee named Ghedi (GEH-dee), and he’s on a mission to teach kids to walk and bike safely, and to speak out for changes to improve active transportation.

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With Ghedi’s help, teachers lead kids on investigations to help them find out if their neighborhoods are safe for walking and biking. The kid’s workbook includes a clue checklist so they know what to look for, space to take notes and draw pictures of what they see in the built environment, a scoring guide, instructions for creating a case file and a customizable letter to lawmakers.

The leader’s guide is full of facts and stats, tips and additional resources to help teachers and community leaders create a safe, effective and authentic learning experience for kids in grades 3-8.

Ghedi’s character is based on the refugee children Andrea Clark met while working at Catholic Charities, and she brought the idea to KC Healthy Kids last summer.

“In Somalia, names have significant meaning, and Ghedi means ‘traveler’ or ‘born during travel,'” Clark said. She built his backstory around what she found to be common experiences of Somali refugees:

Ghedi was born in the world’s largest refugee camp in Kenya after his parents fled famine and civil war in Somalia. His family resettled in the United States when he was a little boy. They live in the oldest and largest public housing project in Kansas. His dad works temporary jobs and his mom cultivates a plot at a training farm for refugee farmers. She sells produce at a farmers market in a food desert. His elementary school is less than half a mile away so he and his little sister can walk and bike to school. His older brother goes to middle school two miles away so he rides the school bus. Ghedi’s family has one car and can’t always afford repairs, so they also rely on public transportation and rides from friends to get around.

Clark explored area neighborhoods while creating the workbooks. She wrote about her findings in a series of blog posts:

The Walking Detective™ Explores South Hyde Park
The Walking Detective™ Explores Juniper Gardens
The Walking Detective™ Explores Blue Hills
The Walking Detective™ Explores Armour Hills

The Walking Detective™ materials debuted at KC Healthy Kids’ Champions for Health youth summit on March 2. Contact KC Healthy Kids to get the kid’s workbook and leader’s guide to investigate your community!

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