Family block party returns to Maple Ridge after a decade

It’s a block party against climate change. 

Organized by the CEED Centre, the CEED Centre Family Block Party on Saturday, June 11 is slated to serve as an opportunity for neighbours to get together and learn about their individual and collective roles to curb climate change, over a cup of tea and popcorn. 

Although CEED is the sister organization of the Golden Ears Transition Initiative (GETI) and participates in the GETI Fest in September, this year, the board collectively decided that an event ahead of the festival should take place at the CEED Centre neighbourhood house.

The first block party was an event to bring awareness about several issues that were impacting the community of Ridge Meadows including homelessness, the opioid crisis and people living below the poverty line. 

But after seeing an upward trend towards resolution of these issues, the centre held that the timing is right to bring people together once again. 

Read: In the pandemic chaos, Ridge Meadows Hospice became a glimmer of hope

Building a common space

“There weren’t community spaces where people would just get together to meet. So, we are creating a place for people in the neighbourhood to come together and meet,” said Christian Cowley, executive director of CEED. 

This year’s theme is reemergence, something members of the team decided was fitting as everyone recovers from the pandemic and begins to socialize again.

The idea for the theme emerged from the psychological need to come out of the dark period [pandemic], shared Cowley. Therefore, a healing tent will be an opportunity for those who are struggling to return to pre-pandemic social behaviours. 

But how does a block party tie in with a climate solutions organization? 

Relationship building for the environment

To find solutions to climate change, getting people together is important and events like these help promote such discussions, expressed Cowley. 

He said relationship building is a starting point for climate solutions, especially when there is music and tea involved. 

“When you can be part of solutions, you see hope. We don’t want people to get disheartened and such events help people come together and think together,” said Cowley. 

Reminiscing on their previous block party, he said a lot has changed in the area. Back then, people weren’t willing to show up at events but now, the housing stock has changed and the community has begun to gel. 

Thinking about the past, Cowley shared that the neighbourhood house was built by Japanese Canadians who once made up 30 per cent of the local population. To celebrate their contributions, the Maple Ridge Museum will bring Museum on the Move with a dedicated exhibit about the early Japanese Canadian settlers. 

Apart from this event, the centre is planning to launch a podcast by August called Connected Communities which will focus on anti-racism and feature people from diverse communities in the area.

The centre has also organized a pocket farm market where they sell local produce from a farm and hope to turn it into a food hub in the long run for Ridge Meadows and Mission. 

“Our hopes for the future is to work in community, social and economic development and bring holistic solutions to problems that arise in the community,” said Cowley. 

The family event will have live music performances including Bruce Coughlan, a story walk and life-size checkers for kids and service booths including Bike Hub and Maple Ridge Street Outreach Society. 

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