MONTREAL – Lea Capuano’s life has completely changed in the last year. Since her son Pascal was born, she sees everything differently.
“There’s a need for a village,” she said. “It takes a village to raise a child and I’m getting nostalgic in my old age for playing in the street and having the mummies and daddies watch over you.”
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That’s why she’s so adamant about reviving the Block Parent Program.
“We’re involved in this community group and that’s good,” she said. “It’s building the village.”
Over the years, the program has died in the West Island. In fact, there are no longer any Block Parent committees.
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“It’s my priority for the next year, to work with the West Island,” said Francine Chartrand, president of the Block Parent Program in Montreal.
Bringing the program back to Pointe-Claire was Tara Stainforth’s brain child; her mother was a Block Parent.
“I have a daughter so I’d like it if there were people in the area that were Block Parents,” she said. “So eventually she can venture off on her own and feel safe knowing that there are people that can go see if there’s a problem.”
Stainforth wants her children to take advantage of the kind of security she used to have.
“You kind of want to be part of a community and feel safe,” she said.
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Other mothers are spearheading the program in several cities in the West Island.
“It’s making people feel safer in our community,” said Melanie Cyr, who is working to gather volunteers in Dorval, “to make sure that kids understand that they’re not alone and making sure that they understand that things can happen.”
Block Parent Canada admits it’s been years since they’ve seen such high numbers in the Montreal area.
“Never have we had the interest, so much interest, from an article as we have this week from the Montreal area,” said Linda Patterson, the president of Block Parent Canada.
“It is phenomenal, overwhelming.”
Stainforth says she’s excited to get the ball rolling on the movement and has already planned an information session on August 20 to encourage moms across the West Island to get on board.
“If you want to be part of a community spirit you have to trust your neighbours and know your neighbours and be a part of it,” she said. “Participate in the community.”
For Capuano, there’s no doubt in her mind that the Block Parent Program can only do good in her already tight-knit neighbourhood.
“I remember that support because we did know our neighbours and we played with the neighbourhood kids,” she said.
It’s a throwback to a simpler time when parents and kids knew everyone on their street.
© Shaw Media, 2014