June 25, 2017/know/ by Dianna Souveny

On June 21, 20 people gathered for an “indoor” Block Party at the Dawe Centre. It was the morning following a horrific wind storm which had swept through Central Alberta causing devastating damage. It was reassuring to gather and talk about being neighborly. There were many new faces around the CAPRA table from many different neighbourhoods and communities but we were all gathered to learn more about the Great Neighbours initiative.

Nora Smith the community mobilizer for Great Neighbours facilitated the group to identify the benefits of being neighbourly including;
• Boosting your physical and mental health
• Enhance safety and security by looking out for one another.
• Socialization, build relationships.
• Reduce conflicts, have open conversation.
• Help the environment, share equipment.
• Assist each other with things like child care, snow removal, sharing skills.
• Intergenerational opportunities with seniors and children/youth.
• Boost your business enterprise.

Nora also shared tactics about how to be more neighbourly. Small working groups identified ways to connect with their neighbours. While many ideas were generated “Block Parties” appeared to be a popular choice! Block Parties are being organized all over the city of Red Deer and in surrounding towns and villages. Currently there are over 80 block parties registered for 2017!

To learn more about hosting a block party.

The block party morning wrapped up with a presentation by Avery Acheson, Intake and Settlement Manger with Central Alberta Refugee Effort (CARE). Avery talked about the cultural component and taking diversity into consideration when we are working in our neighbourhoods to build those connections and relationships. Avery illustrated his message with the Cultural Iceberg – noting that the 10% of the iceberg that is above water is the part we can see while 90% below the surface is the subtext. It’s hidden, needs to be explored and requires that we take the time to explain our intentions.