Dozens take part in 'Walk As One'
URBANA — A sheriff's lieutenant, an Urbana mom, a principal, a school board member and an alderman walked down the street together Tuesday afternoon.
While the five came from different walks of life, they were huddled for a cause.
They were among dozens of groups that took park in Urbana's first neighborhood "Walk as One."
Organizers said the purpose was to share information about the school district, community resources and other helpful information with residents on Urbana's east side.
Each group was given a set of homes to visit. They knocked on people's doors and handed them bags packed with fliers on school registration, how to get resources from the United Way, how to make a home less vulnerable to burglars and more.
Organizers said 25 officers from the Champaign, Urbana and UI police departments and Champaign County Sheriff's Office joined an estimated 70 volunteers who took part.
"We're basically here to reach out to the community and give them information on resources that are available to them," Champaign County Sheriff's Lt. Brian Mennenga said as he headed to the first home on his group's list. "They divided the neighborhood into sections, and each group has either a police officer or deputy assigned to them.
"We don't want them to think that police only come when bad things happen."
Sandra Carter, a mother of two, volunteered to show support for the schools and police.
"I'm glad to see the people from the school district getting out into the community," she said. "Hopefully, we can get out to the other neighborhoods in Urbana and make this an annual event."
Urbana High School Principal Matthew Stark said he was glad to have a chance to meet more community members since he has only been on the job for a little over a year.
"I think it is good for us to get out beyond our walls," Stark said.
Alderman Bill Brown said the walk was a great way to meet ordinary citizens.
"Our police respond to a lot of calls out here," he said, "so this is one way for all of us to get in better touch with the community."