While she may still be acclimating to living in Portage, the new Bear Clan Coordinator is ready to keep her new home clean.
Kim Longstreet picked up the role at the beginning of September. She says patrol dates are currently set for Wednesdays and Fridays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. She notes that the Seven Sacred Teachings mean a lot for the Bear Clan.
"The Bear Clan itself, bear being one of the seven teachings, is courage," explains Longstreet when explaining the purpose of the Bear Clan. "When a Bear Clan patrol goes out, what we're exhibiting is courage to the community."
She adds that it takes courage to get out into the community not knowing what to expect, however, Longstreet notes that the Bear Clan is not trying to be a police or security force and should never be looked at that way. The Bear Clan's goal is to help people, whether that be as simple as giving someone directions or providing blankets, food, and other supplies to those in need.
"In our den, in collaboration with Reaching Home, which is an organization in Portage, on Mondays and Fridays in the morning from 9 to 11, we have a shower and a laundry machine," says Longstreet. "People can come through Reaching Home and use our facility."
Longstreet wants those in Portage to know that the group is not interested in seeing struggling community members arrested. The Bear Clan's focus is on helping those who need it.
"We're compassion, we're empathy and no judgment," says Longstreet. "We rarely involve police in what we're doing unless it is dire, meaning somebody is being physically hurt."
Looking ahead, Longstreet's personal goal for the Bear Clan is to be consistently out in the community to show Portagers that the group is a force for good in the city.
"I'm very excited to be in Portage. I'm a newbie, I just moved here on August 22nd, so I'm very new to the community. I've been embraced very well by the community," says Longstreet. "I'm looking forward to getting Bear Clan back to where it was in 2019 when the community embraced it and all the things that it was meant to do."