When they do, if all goes according to plans, teams of Snow Angels will emerge to clear sidewalks within at least 1,500 feet of a half dozen schools in the region.
Filipiak and a group of neighborhood leaders and city officials have spent a year organizing Snow Angels around these elementary schools: Steele, Carver and West in District 11, Pikes Peak in D2, Frontier in D20 and Odyssey in D49.
Eventually, Filipiak hopes to see similar teams spread to all elementary schools in the Pikes Peak region.
“We put together a pilot program to see how best to get people to participate,” she said.
Amy credits the idea to bicycling advocate Al Brody. Both believe snow should never block a child’s path to school so they set about organizing teams of Snow Angels to clear the way.
Brody sought out Amy because of her role as volunteer coordinator for the area’s Safe Routes to School program, which program promotes walking and biking to school by building sidewalks and bike paths, training crossing guards, installing bike racks at schools and encouraging students and families to participate.
Since Congress authorized it in 2005, the program has distributed $612 million in grants to more than 10,400 schools nationwide, covering 4.8 million children.
Filipiak then approached the city’s traffic engineering department and the Council of Neighbors & Organizations, the umbrella organization for area neighborhood groups.
CONO president Dave Munger said his folks quickly saw the potential and began contacting neighborhood associations where they might test the idea, such as the Old North End and the Organization of Westside Neighbors.
CONO treasurer John Nuwer said the city embraced the idea and printed door hangers to help get the word out to residents within a radius of the six schools in the pilot program.
“They also printed some nice decals to give people who shovel their sidewalks to let people know you are a Snow Angel,” Nuwer said.
The program benefits more than just school children, said Vic Appugliese, president of the Old North End group.
“This will help elderly neighbors who can no longer pick up a shovel. It will help us identify those folks and get them help,” he said. “This is a great program. We have a lot of pedestrians in our neighborhood. This is about helping everybody.”
There’s just one problem.
It hasn’t snowed enough to trigger the program.
When it does, the group is ready.
“We’re hoping a little bit of awareness will get people out to shovel their walks,” Filipiak said.
Are you ready, Snow Angels? The kids are counting on you!