Hollister Mayor Walks to Help Her City’s School

Mayor Jayne Self at Hollister Elementary School

HOLLISTER, Idaho — Jayne Self rings the doorbell and is let inside Hollister Elementary School, where she is instantly greeted by school staff members with big smiles on their faces.

It’s October, so everyone at the school will be seeing a lot more of Jayne, who is the mayor of Hollister, a tiny community located about halfway between Twin Falls and Jackpot, Nev., on State Route 93.

October means the Mayor’s Walking Challenge, a program of the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health that encourages Idaho’s mayors to walk and be advocates for getting children active in their community. Mayors who average 10,000 steps a day during October earn $1,000 for their community.

Last year, Jayne participated and won funds. She donated the money to Hollister Elementary, the only school in town. The school purchased physical education equipment, which it would not have been able to because of lack of funds. The school is kindergarten through fifth grade and has 51 students.

“We were so grateful for that funding,” Hollister Elementary Principal and Teacher Jenni Jacobson said. “To keep this school alive, we have to have help. We are grateful for this. It means a great deal because this school is the community. It’s one of the big things that this community has.”

Jayne, who is retired and a part-time mayor, will be the first to tell you she doesn’t walk much in the other 11 months of the year. But when it comes to helping support her community, she is willing to put her best foot forward some 10,000 times each day this month.

“I help where I can,” Jayne says. “Jenni talked about how fast that money went, so I’m going to do my best to try and help the school again this year.”

The principal isn’t surprised. She’s also asked if Jayne will speak at an upcoming meeting where the school is asking for funding, and Jayne agrees to speak on the school’s behalf.

“Everything that we do, we need to work together to keep unified,” Jacobson says.

Jayne will be at the school walking with the students several times this month. On these visits, count on three things to happen:

  1. Jayne will earn 10,000 bonus steps. The Foundation encourages mayors to interact with young people in their community and the bonus steps are on incentive.
  2. Jayne will tell the students the importance of being physically active and to get outside and play.
  3. Jayne will have the time of her life.

“It’s fantastic,” Jayne says. “These kids are amazing. They always talk, always ask questions and want to know stuff. They want knowledge. I answer their questions, and it’s so much fun. That’s the best part of the whole walk.”

Jayne has her plan to get steps. In addition to walking with kids, she has a loop from her house that goes past the school and one of the churches in town. She can walk her two dogs as well. Once it’s cold, she will walk circles in her living room to get the 10,000 steps.

“The dogs will follow me around the house,” she said.

And the smiles will continue to come her way as she walks for her community.