204 Neighbourhood Watch

204 Neighbourhood Watch

A Story from 204FM Community by Leila Castro

Two weeks ago, admins and members of 204FM responded to the concerns about safety in the community by stepping up and forming the 204 Neighbourhood Watch. To date, close to 300 persons, have enlisted as volunteers. Last Saturday the volunteers held its first meeting and soft launch of the group, with Bear Clan co-founder and leader James Favel as guest speaker. Generous Manny and Emy Adao, owners of Bakerite, sponsored the venue and served free hearty snacks to the attendees.

In his 90-minute presentation, James explained why and how Bear Clan was formed and what help it provides to the community, among which are patrolling, responding to fire and to domestic violence. As James shared to the group “Bear Clan is not the police. But we make sure that family members get home safely.”

James added that giving back to the community is infectious. He recounted that when Bear Clan was reactivated few years ago, there were just four people who met at the basement of Stella’s Café. Initially just the four of them were patrolling and people thought they were crazy. But now Bear Clan has grown to more than 500 volunteers.

During the goal setting workshop, the attendees shared what was their vision of an ideal community for their family, and also examined the present reality in terms of safety problems and concerns. They brainstormed on ways that will transform the present to the envisioned safe community. Among those that came out were installation of more lights at the back lane, having more community events to get acquainted to the neighbours in the area and to bring the community closer, and leveraging on social media to alert the community about danger, to ask for help and to educate about safety.

The group sees that the “ningas kugon” trait (or burn brightly for a short period of time, and then extinguish quickly) and the lack of time because many people are on double or triple jobs, will be hurdles to sustaining the 204 Neighbourhood Watch. The group also devised responses to the perceived hurdles, such as make the activities fun and entertaining, and tap on a lot of volunteers and allow them to volunteer at their own available time. As Mario Cueto, a member of Bear Clan, said to the group, “It is about the honest generosity of people. Before you take the first walk, you really really should know why you are there.”

We need more volunteers for the 204 Neighbourhood Watch. If interested, please send request to join the FB group 204 Neighbourhood Watch, or send email to leilacastro.ca@gmail.com.