BY GIRA BHATT
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
AS the New Year begins, new promises and new hopes emerge. One hope that remains constant is the well-being of our youth. Ensuring them a safe, loving, and enriching environment is the responsibility of each of us, individually and collectively. We want our youth to be strong, and protected from negative influences so they thrive and achieve success.
In this context, the City of Surrey along with the BC Ministry of Public Safety has offered a great opportunity to bring everyone together to work side by side for a very special program for youth and families. The formal partners of this initiative include KPU, the South Asian Community Coalition Against Youth Violence (SACCAYV), MOSAIC, and BC’s anti-gang police (CFSEU-BC). An important alliance however, is with the Sikh leadership in Surrey.
Representatives of this collaborative network, supported by the SAFE program of the City of Surrey, worked hard to create a vision and concrete plans to implement this vision to develop strength-based youth programming tailored to suit participating Gurdwaras.
The goal is to offer eight sessions (60-90 minutes each) for youth at select Gurdwara locations. Each session is planned in consultation with researchers and Gurdwara leaders. The focus is on building strengths of character which research has identified as critical for positive youth development. Highlighting and building the inner strengths of the youth, their skills, their abilities, and their positive potentials has been found to provide strong protection against negative social influences.
Each of these once-a-week activity session is planned by youth leaders under the guidance of the researchers and Gurdwara program managers. These sessions aim to be interactive, lively, engaging, and informative, in which the youth participate fully and contribute to a variety of group activities. The guiding principle for planning the sessions is the integration of the teachings of the Gurus with the evidence-based youth programming.
Following the conclusion of a very successful eight-session youth program at Gurdwara Dukh Nivaran Sahib (October-November 2019), the next series of the eight-session program begins at Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara (120th Street-70th Avenue) on Saturday, January 11.
Funding for this program is provided by the Civil Forfeiture Award from the BC Ministry of Public Safety. It will provide for $5 gift certificate to each youth at the end of each session they attend. Additionally, youth who complete all eight sessions will receive a Certificate of Excellence at a special celebration session at the end of the program.
Additionally, two sessions are planned for parents: Saturday, February 29 and Saturday, March 7. Attending parents will receive $10 for attending each of the two sessions.
Registration link: www.gnsg.org/Main/REG
For general project information, please contact Inspector Baltej Dhillon at [email protected]