HOUSTON - Thousands of local kids headed back to school Monday morning, including Houston ISD.
Among the students, Marshall Middle School, where just over a year ago, a young male student was stabbed and killed walking home.
On Monday, volunteers with Safe Walk Home Northside made sure kids made it safely to school.
From signs to cheers.
"This is first day of school, we have some encouraging signs, we're passing out water to our students, some little treats," said Stella Walters, founder of Safe Walk Home.
Kids attending Marshall Middle School received a warm welcome as they gathered for first day of school.
"We're letting them know that city leaders, local police and of course just everyday people here, that we're here and ready for them, we want them to succeed and have a safe year," said Walters.
The warm gesture, put together by Safe Walk Home Northside, an organization founded in honor of 11-year-old Josue Flores, who was stabbed to death while walking home from school May 2016.
"The neighborhood was not ready at the time, the residents. It really came as a shock and we were unprepared,” said Walters.
Not anymore. From being able to render aid, to recognizing unsafe situations, these volunteers are prepared to keep kids from harm’s way, including Flores’ mother, who took part in the welcome event.
"We watch the students as they walk to school, and if we suspect any suspicious activity, we call the proper authorities,” said Walters.
Young students like Michelle Ortiz are thankful for the protection.
"You feel more safe, you feel like you're free, and nothing wrong is going to happen,” said Ortiz.
A feeling of security, volunteers hope to continue to provide for these students into the future.
Organizers hope to expand their program to even more schools throughout Houston in the coming months and years.
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