The basics of Block Parenting
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 02/11/2022 (215 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Are Block Parents still around?
The simple answer is yes, the Block Parents program is alive and well. My husband and I have been Block Parents for 29 years.
Who are Block Parents and what do they do?
The Block Parent program is Canada’s largest volunteer-run child safety organization, with thousands of volunteers from coast to coast making communities safer for everyone.
The distinctive red and white sign in the window of a home tells children, seniors and others that help is at hand if they are lost, frightened or in distress. Block Parents also offers in-person community education programs.
How did the Block Parent Program get its start?
It was initiated by a coalition of citizens, school boards and police in Ontario in 1968, then established in Manitoba in 1975, owing to public concern following the serious assault of a child in a school community.
Winnipeg currently has 563 Block Parents, representing 326 safe homes. All volunteers are regularly background-checked by the Winnipeg Police Service, and cleared on the child abuse registry, at no cost to the volunteers.
These are some of the basic principles that all parents should teach their children:
• Do your children know where to go if they are being followed or bothered by someone?
√ To a trusted neighbour or nearest group of people;
√ To a store that is open;
√ To a Block Parent home,
• Do your children know what to do if someone grabs them?
They should twist, turn and scream as loudly as they can! Teach your children that, in the right circumstance, it is all right to say “No!” to an adult or older kid.
• Do not label your child’s clothing, toys or school bags where their names will be in plain view. Children might not be as cautious if strangers call them by their names.
• Do you know who your child’s friends are?
Keep a list of their friends’ names, addresses and phone numbers.
• Do your children know what to do if they are home alone? Make sure your children know:
√ Not to tell anyone at the door or on the phone that they are home alone;
√ Who to call if they need help
To find out if your local elementary school has a Block Parent chairperson or how to volunteer as a Block Parent yourself, call the office at 204-284-7562 or visit www.winnipegblockparents.mb.ca
St. James-Assiniboia community correspondent
Wanda Prychitko is a community correspondent for St. James-Assiniboia.