Report says Surrey youth need more support

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Surrey youth want more education, work and financial stability, according to the 2015 Vital Signs report.

The report developed by SurreyCares Community Foundation combined survey results from 400 youth ages 12 to 24.

The report states youth in Surrey feel unprepared to enter into the workforce or into post-secondary education – Surrey youth want more basic life skills training in secondary school, such as how to pay off bills, do taxes, find affordable housing and save earnings for future financial stability.

“Young people want to work, they want to get educated they want to be independent, they want to give back to the community, they want to have a voice,” says Erin Beirne, chair of Vital Signs.

Transportation was also listed as a top priority – the report says many youth from lower-income homes can’t participate in extracurricular activities or have difficulty travelling to and from work due to costs and lack of services in some areas.

There also seems to be few services available to vulnerable youth – only six of 185 shelter beds are devoted to youth. Lack of employment is also noted as an issue with only 14% of youth between the ages of 20 to 24 having obtained employment.

The report suggests many of these struggles may correlate to the alarming 11% of youth in Surrey who have seriously considered or attempted suicide.

Despite many of the areas in need of improvement, Bierne says Surrey youth feel a strong connection to their city, “I love that the youth feel connected to our community… only six or seven percent said they were highly dissatisfied with living in Surrey.”

SurreyCares is providing the information to different community groups and the City of Surrey. The report will also be presented at the Youth Engagement Conference on Nov. 28, 2015.

Blake Sebastian entered the Film and Television industry at the age of 17. Now in his mid-twenties, he has been involved in radio, lifestyle/reality TV shows and factual docu-series. Blake has been involved in over a dozen different shows and holds a two-year diploma in Broadcast Journalism from BCIT.