FOUNDER and CEO of Kids Play Foundation, Kalwinder (Kal) Dosanjh of B.C., received the prestigious Bharat Samman Award at the 30th annual NRI Parvasi Divas on October 26 for his exemplary work as a Global Leader in Social Impact. The award was conferred upon Dosanjh in the presence of other decorated leaders at the House of Lords in London, United Kingdom.
The Bharat Samman Award is bestowed upon a group of select People of Indian Origin (PIOs), living in India or abroad, for their outstanding achievements in their respective fields, and their contribution to the socio-economic development of India as well as their country of residence.
The award is conferred by the NRI Institute, a non-profit NGO that is a registered body of PIOs connecting the Indian Diaspora since 1989 as a platform to honour exceptional individuals and organizations for their global achievements, and to encourage overseas Indians to be a part of the socio-economic development of India. The recipients of The Bharat Samman Award demonstrate an understanding of a community’s needs through exemplary selfless voluntary service.
Dosanjh, a veteran police officer, television host, parent, and community advocate, promotes the importance of living a just and righteous life, “whereby the service of others, namely, the less fortunate and underprivileged, should supersede all else. These teachings provided me with a strong foundation of good values and principles.”
With over 17 years of law enforcement experience with the Vancouver Police Department, Dosanjh served in one of North America’s most challenging and violent environments, the Downtown Eastside for approximately eight years.
As one of the 15 officers of the Beat Enforcement Team responsible for policing the Downtown Eastside, Dosanjh also appeared on the hit reality series, The Beat. The dangerous environment, the open-air drug market, and the constant exposure to extreme risk, was the premise behind the series, which followed Dosanjh in action on the streets as he responded to calls of homicides, robberies, serious assaults, and dealings with violent drug dealers, gang members and individuals suffering from mental health issues.
His work in the Downtown Eastside, and the steady proliferation of youth entering the open air drug market, became the basis for ratifying and implementing programs for youth under the umbrella of the police athletic league. The programs focused on providing youth constructive outlets through the portal of sports. This served as the genesis in the founding of Kids Play Foundation, a non-profit organization committed towards keeping kids away from the lifestyle of drugs, gangs, and violence by reinforcing a sense of belonging and self-worth. Thus far, with 500 members, spearheading over 60 projects and 140 events, Kids Play has impacted over 40,000 youth through free programs and scholarships since its inception in 2015.
The bedrock and fundamental principle of these programs is to establish a rapport with the youth through the medium of sports. Organized sports are being used throughout the world as a dynamic mechanism to engage youth of all races, genders, and classes. Through the initiative of providing the youth with an opportunity to play in organized sports tournaments, Kids Play strives to bridge a gap between the youth and adults in a constructive manner. In doing so, it is providing young people with a positive identity and feelings of empowerment, whilst simultaneously developing sportsmanship, leadership, teamwork and self governance skills.
A former VP of the BC Human Rights Coalition, Dosanjh has garnered numerous commendations, community leadership awards and accolades for his contributions in policing and towards bridging a gap in barriers faced by the community youth through the Kids Play initiative.