MONTREAL – Mothers in the West Island are serious about bringing back the Block Parent program.
Some might remember the iconic program from their childhood.
The Block Parent sign in participants’ windows is meant to let children know the house is safe to approach when help is needed.
On Wednesday, mothers from Pointe-Claire and Dorval met with the president of Block Parent Montreal.
“The meeting was so we could know what being a block parent is,” said Tara Stainforth, a mother who organized the meeting and held it in her basement.
“She gave us information about forming the committee so we know there’s actually quite a structure involved.”
The mothers were told they would first have to create an executive committee, with a president, secretary and treasurer.
Participants in the program would then have to agree to a background check.
Mothers say it will all be worth it once Block Parent is up and running.
“It’s more involved than I thought,” said Christine Latreille, a Pointe-Claire mother who attended the meeting.
“I didn’t know we were forming a committee, which is good,” she added, “to be more involved, not just sticking a sign on your window but trying to get other people in the community involved also.”
The program was very popular in the 70s and 80s, but membership dropped in the early 2000s, as more mothers started working.
Block Parent Montreal says working parents shouldn’t be too concerned about the time commitment.
“It’s not nine to five,” said Francine Chartrand, president of Block Parent Montreal.
“I told them just five minutes a week is very good block parenting.”
Now the program is making a comeback, thanks to social media.
“One woman posted to a moms’ group on Facebook and I think the 40 requests were probably from 40 moms on the group,” said Stainforth.
“There is power in numbers, you see everyone jumping on the bandwagon, and it motivates you, you want to participate in something too,” she added.
Even the school board says having Block Parent back could help fight the likes of Howard Krupp, a 67 year-old man who last year was charged with harassing children at bus stops and on their way home.
“It could’ve helped,” said Suanne Stein Day, Chair of the Lester B. Pearson School Board.
“If children are taught to look for Block Parent during safe times every day, that this is a safe place you go, then it’s just an added ability for them to ensure their own safety. And we’re more than happy in our schools to talk to children about finding those safe homes.”
Mothers in the West Island who wish to bring back the program may have some paperwork ahead of them, but still maintain they’re committed to bringing the program back to their neighbourhood this fall.