Airdrie Home Owners Urged to become Block Parents

Posted by on Thursday, May 11th, 2017 at 8:12pm.

A local group is encouraging residents of Airdrie to step forward and ignite the lagging Block Parent initiative in the city.

Calling itself Block Parent Airdrie, the group is trying hard to activate the community into keeping Airdrie safe for youngers as well as preventing crime

The group’s president Lindsey Coyle, told the Airdrie Echo weekly paper that many parents, now in the 30s and into their 40s, grew up with the knowledge that if they saw a Block Parent sign in the window that it was a safe place to go if you were lost or followed by bullies or strangers.  She herself grew up in Winnipeg and her parents participated in the program.  When she became a parent and her first-born started school, that’s when Coyle realized Airdrie was lacking.  A previous Block Parent program in Airdrie had dissolved around 2007.

Block Parents was started in 1968 when a young boy in Ontario went missing on his way home from school.  It’s Canada’s largest volunteer-run child safety program.

The white and red Block Parent sign is to be displayed in the living window of participating homes where a responsible adult was in the house.  If people aren’t at home, the sign comes down. The program provides a safe haven for not only children, but for teenagers and even seniors.  Kids who walk to school, become separated from parents when out on bikes for example, are the number one reason the program was invented.

The appearance of Block Parent signs in homes that are occupied is also a way for Airdrie residents to keep vigilant and to deter criminal’s intent on house breaking.

Coyle said Block Parents help to take control of communities by being a good neighbour.  The sign starts a conversation and helps people talk to their neighbours and learn who they are. 

The program needs a kick start as there are currently just 50 signs out in Airdrie.

Coyle said that often people think that if there are two or three signs in living room windows on a particular block that there enough homes participating but because the signs are out only when people are home, more homes per block are usually needed.

By the end of the year, Coyle has great expectations that the number of signs around the city will double.  The group’s plan of attack is to start with educating young people who will in turn encourage parents and adults to participate.  Block Parents will be out campaigning this year in Airdrie at various festivals and outdoor events.

The organization has been working on re-popularizing the program since 2015.  With the sign in the window, kids, teens and seniors out walking in Airdrie will know that if they need of any sort, the residents of the home have been screened and cleared and are ready to welcome people in distress.  Most people under 50 grew up with an understanding of what the program is all about and how valuable it is.  There are fewer young people out walking to and from school than there were 40 years ago, but Coyle emphasized that if even one child is made to feel safer by approaching a Block Parent, the program is worth it.

How to Become a Block Parent

People interested in Block Parents follow a simple process.  After expressing interest to Block Parents Airdrie, the organization issues a volunteer letter which the resident takes to an RCMP Depot.  There’s a minor fee to be paid for a criminal background check as well as a vulnerable sector screening for people in the household over 18 years of age.

The group can be contacted through their website or through Facebook.




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