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More Block Parents needed city-wide
Linda Lambert is hoping for more Block Parents in her neighbourhood.
The mother of two, who lives in Richmond West, became a Block Parent after growing up in a household with parents who were involved in the program.
Now, as the chairperson for the Bairdmore School area Block Parent program, she’s encouraging more families in the neighbourhood to get involved. The Bairdmore School area is bordered by Pembina Highway, Waverley Street, the Perimeter Highway and Lee Boulevard.
Lambert said when she took over as area chairperson, there were 25 Block Parents for the community. In the six years she’s been area representative, the number of Block Parents in the Bairdmore School area has decreased to 12.
Lambert said she would like to see at least one Block Parent for every 15 houses in her neighbourhood.
"The importance of (having Block Parents in the area) is huge. As a block parent you’re there if kids are lost, if kids are in trouble. If they see a (Block Parent) sign, they can run into that home," Lambert said.
George Jarvis, president of the Block Parent Program of Winnipeg, said the organization recommends at least one Block Parent home per block, but acknowledged there is currently a shortage of Block Parents in the city.
"Right now we have about 1,400 Block Parents in Winnipeg. We’re proud to be the largest Block Parent program in Canada, however, we are short of Block Parent (homes) city-wide," Jarvis said.
"Years and years ago there was a wealth of Block Parent homes. My fear is over time, Block Parent families are going to be dropping off, and they are, and new families aren’t replacing them."
Lambert said having a large Block Parent presence in an area is a good way to show visitors to the neighbourhood how people in the community look out for each other.
"The more Block Parent signs that are up are an advertisement to people out there that this is a community on guard, and that there are people watching," Lambert said.
The Block Parent program was established in Winnipeg in 1976. In order to become a Block Parent, all parties in a household over 18 years of age must be screened by the police.
Block Parents display the sign in a visible location when they are at home, and are available to answer the door immediately.
"When kids come to the door, you don’t have to help them, all you have to do is call their parents or call the police," Lambert said.
Jarvis said Block Parents wants to get the word out to families across Winnipeg that it’s not difficult to get involved in the program.
"(Families) are the boss of how often they want to put up their sign," he said.
If you wish to become a Block Parent in the Bairdmore area, contact Lambert at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 204-632-7276. For all other areas of the city contact the Winnipeg Block Parent office at 204-284-7562.
For more information on the Block Parent Winnipeg program go to winnipegblockparents.mb.ca.
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