In mid-2021, I became one of the City of Cupertino’s Safe Routes to School Representatives for my high school. Early on, as I joined in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was not much for me to do except for attend meetings and transmit student feedback to the city (important stuff—don’t get me wrong—but definitely not the most interesting). Little did I know then, however, that it was just the beginning.

Some of the Tino Safe Routes Team in 2023

By the start of 2023, we had already hosted 4 school-wide events—with over a thousand attendees overall, and with another 4 events in the works.

Don’t Drive for Donuts 2022

All this came to be after the City of Cupertino offered each of the three schools in the district a $500 grant to put towards promoting active transportation (e.g., walking, biking, or scootering to school). After holding a series of meetings to determine how to best utilize these funds, we ultimately determined that, given our limited budget, the best way for us to reach the student body was to hold “encouragement events”—in other words, giving students something in exchange for them using active transportation to get to school.

And that’s how our first event, Bike for Boba, came to be. For this event, as a trial, we limited the maximum number of attendees we could have to 50—but we quickly realized that wasn’t enough. So, we adapted. For our next event, Don’t Drive for Donuts, we had almost 10 dozen donuts ready to give out to students, and recruited volunteers to hand out tickets to anyone who walked or biked to school. As that still wasn’t enough, we felt like we had stumbled across something that worked—and so, a few months later, we held our biggest event to date, with over 40 dozen donuts and $70 in raffle prizes.

Some of the Tino Safe Routes Team 2022

The events are very popular.

These events were wildly successful. Our persistent advertising over the announcements, combined with the fact that we chose to give out donuts in the quad—the most popular location on campus—and the efforts of our volunteers, resulted in us reaching numbers of students beyond what we could’ve ever imagined. And so, we hosted another “Don’t Drive for Donuts” event last semester, with potentially two more in the works for this semester.

Nonetheless, we’re still looking for new events to host, and more people to reach. Just last week, the Safe Routes to School team at Cupertino High School had a meeting to further discuss what events we would hold this semester—and when we would hold them. We have some novel ideas in the works, and we can’t wait to show you come late March.

Would you like to help at Safe Routes events at your school? Contact Cupertino Safe Routes to School Coordinator Cherie Walkowiak at

The information in this article is solely the opinion of the author and does not reflect the opinions of any other organization or entity. For more information, contact WBC at