Safe and secure: Block Parent Program returns to New Brunswick town
The Block Parent Program has returned to the Town of Riverview, N.B.
It's the only community in the Greater Moncton area that has the program and there are very few in the whole province right now.
After a few violent incidents within the last 12 to 15 months, a group of residents saw the need for its return.
Block Parent homes are a network of safe and secure places for anyone feeling threatened or in distress.
Jason Savage, the president of the volunteer-based program in Riverview, said many people his age get nostalgic when they see the sign. He feels the program is very much in need in his hometown right now.
"In Riverview, we did have some issues with kids that were experiencing bullying and did get attacked in a park. As a result of those types of occurrences that happened late last year, a group of us got together and the Block Parent Program was one of the initiatives that we came up with and it's finally come to fruition," said Savage.
To become a Block Parent household, every resident over the age of 12 has to do a criminal background check with the RCMP and then there's a short interview process before a sign is handed out.
Savage said the program is needed during the school year and the summer when kids are on vacation.
"The Block Parent Program is needed all the time, and it's not just for kids," he said.
"You can have a senior citizen that maybe gets disoriented while out on a walk and they're looking for help. They see that sign, they recognize that sign and they can go knock on the door and they can get someone to call their family and get home safely."
Riverview resident Denis Shaffer says there have been a few violent incidents that have been covered by the media and she doesn't want to see anyone get hurt, especially one of her children.
"I have a son that is on the spectrum. He has autism and he's 14-years-old and I would dearly love to know that if he's out in the neighbourhood and for some reason he's in danger, he can look for these signs and know that's a safe place to go. It would be a huge relief on my mind," said Shaffer.
Savage said there have been about 25 households who will be submitting background checks this week.
It's a lofty goal, but he hopes to have at least one Block Parent sign on every street in Riverview.