The Rapidian

Annual block captain's dinner focuses on safety

Block Captain's Dinner gets community leaders "fired up" about what's next for the neighborhood.
Underwriting support from:

Hands Across The City

May 19th

Leneord - 3 mile

  • Planting
  • Park clean up
  • Neighbors in need

By: Akilah F.

What community activities can you do for your block? An extravagant dinner was held at Berean Baptist Church on April 17th in recognition of those members of the community that contribute to its safety. Invites were sent out to all Creston Neighborhood Association block captains to discuss how as individuals they can better their community. Followed up with many key speakers representing organizations that play huge roles in the Creston community regarding public safety. By sharing their resouces and tips, our neighbors have the information to be safe and aware.

Kristen Gibbons with the Grand Rapids Police Department has been Creston's community officer for 12 years and works hard in the community to make sure that positive individuals and activities around the area have the ability to thrive in a community that is safe,secure, and healthy for living. She was honored for her hard work and dedication to the neighborhood.

David Lagrand is a member of The Restorative Justice Coalition who also attended the block captain meeting to discuss his vision on how to create a safe environment with a goal of reducing recidivism by getting to the heart of the crime with more involved roles from both victims and offenders. This leads to Lagrand states ''The best crimes are the crimes that don't happen'' with his idea for the community needing to be more preventative than reactionary.  Studies show if you want to reduce your offense, supporting vicitms through the healing process and having the offender critically think about how their actions have changed the lives of others, the guidelines of restorative justice are working. Living in a city were we have big government and small victims, without more leaders on board with restorative justice, there will only be more crimes committed then avoided.

Anne Bachlefifer is a member of the Dispute Resolution Center of West Michigan. The center has many trained mediators that help to resolve disagreements between neighbors in a healthy way. They handle many kinds of disputes including neighbor disputes and victim offender dialogue, which is a great resouce in furthering the ideas of Restorative Justice. Healthy communication and cooperative problem solving are the goals of good mediation. 

Community Emergency Response Team member Dave Everts also attended this meeting to discuss with his peers how to be a helping hand in the comuunity in times of great emergency. He helps by training members of the community to respond large disasters at a time when emergency responders maybe to busy. He teaches potentially life saving habits and preventable methods for large scale emergencies such as maintaing wate and food supplies, fire hazards, and triage. ''How long do you think you can survive without back-up'' as he challenges the crowd of open minded leaders with a question that will lead them to wonder and hopefully reach out for back-up and help by banding together in their communities at times when emergency services maybe to overwhelmed to respond. CERT holds trainings often for anyone to participate to build skills to respond to big disasters.

As eaders of the community as a whole they spoke on the negatives and positives of the neighborhood and what will make it a better place not only for them but for there peers and youth in the area as well. I asked Elaine Edmonds, block captain for the neighborhood association, why is this meeting so important to have? She stated ''It gets my community and other fellow captains fired up and very anxious to watch over the neighborhood and keep the negative out."


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