By The Morinville News Staff
Morinville – It’s a sign that has been around for decades, one found in the windows of homes and businesses that tell children in distress or danger that safety awaits behind the door. But now a local Block Parent is hoping to find a couple more volunteers to help keep the program alive in Morinville.
Tanya Sloan, who is a current board member of the Morinville branch of the organization, said long-time Program Chair Karen Mercier is retiring after many years of service and the group’s third board member is also stepping down. Sloan said she is willing to step up to lead a new board, but if she cannot find at least two more volunteers the program may have to fold.
Sloan said the Block Parent program, which provides a safe haven for children who may be in distress of danger, is not well known to youth of today although parents would be familiar with it from their own youth.
Mercier, a Block Parent for more than two decades, brought the program back to the community in 2008. Sloan said the program currently has 10 Block Parents enrolled in Morinville.
There is no cost to participate in the program. All supplies and programming are provided by Alberta Block Parent. Additionally, there is no requirement for the Block Parent sign to be in the window at all times. The sign is removed when people are at work or unable to offer aid and put back in the window when someone 18 or older is in the home and able to offer assistance.
Families and individuals interested in becoming a Block Parent fill out a simple application form listing their contact information and a couple of personal references. Block Parent then provides the applicant with a letter to be taken to the RCMP for a police check to be done. There is no cost for the police check.
The process is the same for businesses; however, record checks are required for each of the business’ employees. Businesses are provided with a decal for their store window.
Although the Morinville group could use some additional Block Parents, Sloan said the most pressing need is for at least two board members to keep the program afloat. Those board members need to be existing Block Parents or people interested in becoming a Block Parent.
Sloan is hosting a meeting May 2 at 2 p.m. for anyone interested in attending. For more information about the meeting or about becoming involved as a Block Parent or board member call Tanya Sloan at 780-720-7581. More information about the organization can be found at www.albertablockparent.ca.