Block Parent® Program of Winnipeg, Inc.
Good evening everyone. I want to begin by acknowledging that we are gathered on Treaty 1 Territory. We respect the spirit and intent of Treaties and Treaty Making, and remain committed to working in partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Metis people, in the spirit of truth, reconciliation and collaboration.
Welcome to our special guests from the Winnipeg Police Service, Superintendent Bonnie Emerson and Inspector George Labossiere; Ms Teresa Melnychuk of the Block Parent Program of Manitoba, Mr. Randy Popp, who will be handling the election portion of the evening; and to our Block Parents®, both new and long-standing members.
We have truly missed seeing our volunteers and acknowledging our long-standing members, some of whom have been Block Parents for 45 years.
We missed our AGM 2020 and 2021, and postponed the AGM 2022 until the fall, hoping that people would feel comfortable meeting in-person again.
Due to the pandemic restrictions, we have not been able to enter schools for in-person safety presentations since early 2020. However, communication with our schools has been ongoing, and we stay in touch with some of our families via the online school newsletter.
Our office staff, Jan Swayze, and volunteer, Geri Jarvis, have been busy updating the school lists and member contact information, as well as communicating with our School Chairpeople across the city.
Our new Block Parent® applicants and renewals continue to use the easy online background check system. Each online check costs the Block Parent® program $5, which is an added expense, but we believe it will allow us to recruit and retain more volunteers to the program, as it shortens the amount of time an applicant must attend our office and the police station.
We currently have 563 Block Parent® volunteers, which represent 326 safe Block Parent® homes in Winnipeg. These are volunteers who know when to call for help, and won’t look the other way. These volunteers are stepping up and helping people feel safer in their neighbourhoods.
I would like to thank our Board members, who have brought their passion and experience to the table. Even though a few of our Board members have moved on to other things, they have left their mark on the program, and I thank them for their commitment. We look forward to recruiting new members to the Board of Directors, with fresh new ideas. All are welcome.
I want to thank Jan for her dedication to our office operations. A friendly voice answering the phone makes all the difference to an interested volunteer. I also want to thank Geri and George Jarvis, for their continued commitment, volunteerism and tireless efforts. Your knowledge of the program is invaluable, and I thank you for sharing your insights, as the Block Parent® Program strives to grow.
I want to thank all of our Block Parent® members for their commitment to the critical community safety program, and I look forward to seeing everyone in-person soon. Take care and thank you all.