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AARP AARP States Kansas Health & Wellbeing

Kansas State Walking College Fellows Selected

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AARP Kansas has selected 18 advocates from across the state to receive fellowships to participate in the 2023 Kansas State Walking College.

The program is presented in partnership with America Walks, a national education and advocacy organization which works to advance safe, equitable, accessible, and enjoyable places to walk and move by giving people and communities the resources to effectively advocate for change.

"We are delighted to welcome this group of passionate local leaders, who are working to improve walkability and livability in communities throughout the state," said Glenda DuBoise, State Director for AARP Kansas, "The Fellows represent a range of backgrounds and experiences, including community organizing, health and wellness, economic development, and planning.

The Kansas State Walking College Fellows are:

  • Rebecca Armstrong, Bel Aire
  • Kyle Beauchamp, Derby
  • Dora Gallo, Wichita
  • Chris Gralapp, Olathe
  • Michelle Griffin, Salina
  • CW Harper, Garden City
  • Sheila Kjellberg, Salina
  • Courtney Koenig, Pittsburg
  • Marcia Lawrence, Emporia
  • Myron Leinwetter, Rossville
  • Michael McCorkle, Wichita
  • Kara Moment, Bel Aire
  • Tia Raamot, Wichita
  • Caela Simmons Wood, Manhattan
  • Ashley Svaty, Hays
  • Josh Thede, Mission
  • Kelly Villiers, Valley Center

Fellows will complete a series of modules covering leadership development, coalition-building, walkable community design, local public policy, and strategic planning.  The instructional content includes online study materials, video-conferenced discussion forums with other Fellows, and community assignments.  Each Fellow will receive one-on-one coaching from a Personal Mentor to assist them in developing a Walking Action Plan for their community. 

The following Walking College Mentors have been appointed to provide individual coaching and facilitate group discussions among the Fellows:

  • Andy Fry, Director of Planning with Topeka Metro and President of Topeka Community Cycle Project
  • Jessica Mortinger, Transportation Planning Manager with the Lawrence – Douglas County Metropolitan Planning Organization
  • Chris Tilden, researcher with University of Kansas Center for Public Partnerships and Research and Chair of LiveWell Douglas County Healthy Built Environment Work Group

About The Walking College:  The Walking College was developed in 2014 by America Walks, with funding support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The goal of the national program is to build the capacity of local walkability and pedestrian safety advocates across to improve their communities.  In 2021, AARP Livable Communities partnered with America Walks to develop and implement a series of State Walking Colleges.  More info. at

About America Walks:  America Walks is a national education and advocacy organization devoted to increasing walking and expanding walkable communities throughout the U.S. With a network of more than 30,000 individuals and 700 partner organizations, America Walks’ programs include webinar broadcasts, federal advocacy initiatives, online technical assistance, community-based workshops, the National Walking Summit, and the Walking College. More info. at

About AARP: AARP is the nation's largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to the more than 100 million Americans 50-plus and their families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the nation's largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visitñol or follow @AARP@AARPenEspañol 
and @AARPadvocates on social media.

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