Meet Our Parent Champions

Meet the North Natomas parents who are making a difference at their schools by promoting and supporting walk and bike to school programs.

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Ana Ruiz-Cuevas
Witter Ranch Elementary

Any time of year is a good time for walking or exercising for Ana, but her favorite times of the year are the spring and fall. “It’s not too cold or too hot, and it’s a good time to appreciate the colors nature has to offer.”

Ana is a native of Nicaragua and to her, walking to school is one of those cherished times she gets to spend with her children without the distractions of driving. Ana suggests, “Take a break from sitting behind the wheel of your car and enjoy a couple of minutes walking and talking with your child.”




Ana Wanser
STAR Academy

Ana says she loves trekking on foot versus being stuck behind the wheel because, “it gives my family a chance to slow down and really communicate and spend time together. Plus, it's great for Mother Nature!”

"The energy on the walk to school is undeniable," she says, and she highly recommends that everyone participate. “It's not a huge extra effort, but getting the kids up and out exercising early is good for everyone.”




Arlene Sanchez
Paso Verde School

Walking to school has always been a safe way to get to class, but since 2016 when Arlene — a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do — joined as a Parent Champion, we can say that safety has been “kicked” up a few notches.

When she’s not watching the kids’ faces light up when they earn their charms, she’s enjoying the exercise and company of other parents. She says that this year she’s looking forward to seeing more kids, teachers and parents walk or bike (or scooter!) to school.




Elena Thrower
Westlake Charter School

When we asked Elena about her favorite time of year for the Walk and Bike to School program, she was succinct: “I like the beginning, the middle and the end.”

To all Westlake Parents she offers an invitation to leave the car at home. “Walking does not take much longer than waiting in the drop-off line. Plus, you are helping the environment and your body, and it’s a great way to get involved and feel connected.”




Jaskaran Kaur
Natomas Park Elementary

Jas was born in India and came to the U.S. in 2001. She speaks English, Punjabi and Hindi. She says all it takes to put a smile on her face is a bit of morning air and the workout from walking or biking to school, which helps the kids stay energetic all day.

October puts an extra pep in her family’s step as everyone gets in the spirit of Walktober — a month-long contest where students have the chance to win prizes. In the end, "it’s all about seeing the kids get excited," she says.



Shilvana Hernandez
Regency Park Elementary

Shilvana says she will always be an island girl, no matter where she is. “I like to walk or bike instead of drive because it wakes me up in the morning and has me ready for another day. I feel healthier walking and biking.” 

An enthusiast of cooking, dancing, and reading, she also loves seeing the kids’ excitement over getting the chance to be together and when they receive their charms for the week.




Tamara Main
Heron School

Tamara loves to travel and see the world, and one of her favorite journeys is the walk to school. She loves to see the excitement on the kids’ faces and getting the chance to connect with other parents.

To any families considering embarking on the walking/biking adventure, Tamara has these words of encouragement: “You can help get your child mentally & physically prepared for school and you never have to wait in traffic.”




Yvonne Chaiyes
H. Allen Hight Elementary

Born across the pond in England, Yvonne has a knack for knitting and speaking a little Thai from time to time. When we asked her to talk more about why she prefers to leave the car at home, she says she commutes on foot because it “promotes a good healthy lifestyle, keeps your heart strong, and cuts down on traffic.”

She is looking forward to May is Bike Month and encouraging more students to walk.