Volunteers needed for ‘Block Parent’ program

The Fort Frances Block Parent Association is looking for volunteers to breathe new life into this crime prevention program.
“We feel there has been a decline in the activity of people and there has been a low level of interest,” association chair Sandra Whalen said Tuesday morning.
The association will meet Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Centre to talk about the program, which has been operating here for at least the last decade.
Block parents are residents who volunteer their time to answer the door to children or people who might be lost, scared, or in trouble.
They post a “Block Parent” sign in their window when they’re home, and also keep an eye out for suspicious activities in the neighbourhood that could pose a threat to children.
Threats could include dogs, construction, vacant houses, bullies, and adults displaying odd behaviour. Block parents then notify police and the neighbourhood school of any potential threats.
Whalen said part of the problem with the current program is that most of those who started it have watched their children grow up and feel there no longer is a need for it.
“We need new people so that we can get the program off the ground again,” she remarked.
Becoming a “block parent” does not require much of a time commitment, Whalen noted. “You volunteer your time when you are available, at your convenience,” she said.
Block parents put their signs out in windows or doors when they are available to answer the door to someone in need. If the resident is napping, unable to hear the door, or not at home, they are advised to remove the sign from view.
“It is an easy and simple way to volunteer your time,” Whalen said.
In addition to block parents, the association also is looking for people to sit as vice-chair, secretary, treasurer, street reps, and other helpers.
The association needs many more volunteers if it is to keep the “Block Parent” program going.
“It’s very important to have this in our community,” Whalen stressed. “I feel it is a deterrent—it prevents criminal acts against children in our community.”
“If we didn’t have the program in this community, our streets wouldn’t be as safe,” she said.