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Surrey’s Youth For A Change Group Provides a Welcoming Community for LGBTQA2S+ Youth

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Pictured Above: Surrey604 Host, Natasha Raey with members of Youth For A Change.

The group accepts everyone for who they are, and act as each other’s support. They are family.

Written By Reba Broadhurst

Youth for A Change was founded in March 2012 by Sylvie Traphan and Jen Marchbank along with ten very keen youth. They are educators, activists and advocates on many youth issues but especially issues facing lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, two-spirit, and queer youth and allies. Members range in age from 13+, many identify as LGBTQ+, others as allies, ALL participate in planning and decision-making about the group’s activities. They educate themselves and others in a variety of ways.

Surrey Youth For a Change Members Candy and Andrew.

Surrey Youth For a Change members, Candy and Andrew.

For example, they offer workshops to schools, learning centres and other youth groups on topics such as: Homophobia and Transphobia; Gender Identities; Youth Homelessness and Healthy Teen Relationships. Several of their members have experienced social adversity in different ways. For some it has been long periods of homelessness in their teens due to parental and personal differences. For others they have youth who are operating daily by managing their mental health issues, one of which is currently not in regular school due to issues. They accept everyone for who they are, and act as each other’s support, they are family.

A Youth For a Change gathering for Transgender Day of Remembrance

A Youth For a Change gathering on Transgender Day of Remembrance

Each year on Transgender Day of Remembrance, Youth for a Change gets involved with surrounding events to celebrate those who they have lost. This past year on November 20th, 2017 Youth for a Change held their own event and invited several people to come and join in the remembering. During this event they had spoken word performances, the pieces were written by trans youth or youth who identified as trans at the time of the piece being written. You can view their performances in the video below.

One of the youth agreed to have an interview with Surrey604’s Natasha Raey to speak about their difficulties growing up as an LGBTQ+ youth. This youth is very well known by the name Candy, she shares her story of being homeless at a young age and how she has progressed as the years have gone on. One thing Candy does share is how she was uneducated when she was younger and didn’t know what being transgender was and thought that she would be crazy to be such a thing. However, this points out a huge issue in society and how there is little to no education at an early age of LGBTQ+ peoples and their history. Watch Candy’s interview with Natasha below.

One of the group’s facilitators/co-founder, Jen Marchbank also agreed to be interviewed by Natasha. Jen and Sylvie created this group almost six years ago to teach youth how to network, how to advocate and educate etc. Jen speaks about the youth group and some of the places the youth have been invited to perform over the years. Watch Jen’s interview below.

Outside of the youth group, Jen Marchbank is a professor of Gender Studies and Women Studies at SFU. Jen Marchbank and two other lovely individuals Claire Robson and Kelsey Blair are the editors of “Basically Queer” which is a collaboration of pieces from the youth with Youth for a Change and the elders from the Quirk-e which is a senior’s GLBT group. This book is “An Intergenerational Introduction to LGBTQA2S+ Lives.”

The launch for this book will be at SFU this coming Monday, February 26th from 7pm-9pm where there will be more spoken word performances of pieces from the book. All details can be found in the Facebook event titled “Basically Queer Book Launch.”

Written By Reba Broadhurst. Photography by Daman Beatty


This project was made possible thanks to the generous support of EPAMA who has been at the forefront of GLBT representation in Surrey since 2000.

The creator of Surrey604.com, Daman Beatty (AKA 'Beatler') is originally from Sackville, New Brunswick. A longtime media producer, visual designer, marketing and communications specialist, Daman loves travel, technology and being a Daddy.

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Lack Of Services For African Youth Immigrants In Surrey Addressed By Surrey Youth

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Big dreams. When you’re an immigrant moving to a new country in search of a better future, you pack those dreams into whatever suitcases you can reasonably take with you. You carry those dreams onto the airplane, and hope with all your might that the cards will fall in your favour, that saying farewell to everything you know will one day lead to the kind of life you wish to give yourself and your family. And when you land on new soil, you pray for a guardian angel to carry you into your new life.

Bienvenue Osee, a 22 year old immigrant from Democratic Republic of Congo, and his partners Blaise Kisembo and Baracka Mugisa, hope to fan some of those dreams and be that safe space for immigrants from their home continent.

Osee and his partners have a mission to help African youth integrate into their new Canadian home. Their notion of youth helping youth with this transition is fresh and hopeful – and a way of giving back for these young entrepreneurs. Noting that African immigrants and refugees are often members of low-income communities which leaves them vulnerable, marginalized and often disadvantaged, Osee and his partners want to do what they can to empower these individuals.

When Osee arrived in Canada as a 13 year old, French-speaking boy, there were many barriers he had to overcome to fit in and become a productive citizen of Surrey. Language was one. Understanding cultural norms, navigating transit, fitting into the school culture, making friends…these were all just the tip of the iceberg when it came to integration. It was difficult, but Osee was determined to see his family’s big dreams come to fruition. Now, he’d like to give his time to help others do the same.

“Many youth within this community segment are considered to be multi-barriered – not having the language, computer nor social skills coupled with the lack of Canadian work experience – to integrate smoothly into the mainstream Canadian society,” Osee explained. “These barriers ultimately prohibit immigrant and refugee youth from competing confidently for often scarce employment opportunities.” Being unable to compete in today’s job market leads to the perpetual cycle of poverty and vulnerability which Osee hopes to break with a new project.

The project addresses the lack of services and programs for African youth (ages 15-25) and would include: a space for new and recent immigrants to gather to have discussions about civic engagement, an area for learning computer skills, and volunteers who partner with youth to teach them about local culture and life skills like grocery shopping, using transit, preparing for job interviews, and applying for university. While some programs exist in Surrey for adults, Osee strongly believes that a society of youth helping youth gives this vulnerable age group a chance at connection.

Osee is hoping to partner with existing facilities like Surrey Parks & Recreation to offer discounted memberships for new immigrants. His project would also like to take youth to the Surrey Libraries and facilitate the process of getting a new library card.

What they are still looking for is a physical space, preferably in the City Central or Guildford area, where they can host a group of people who want to use computers, hold support groups and discussions and work with professionals on their computer skills and resumes. In addition, they are hoping that electronics stores or members of the public who have older computers would be willing to donate their used electronics.

While the focus is on African youth immigrants, the services would also be open to immigrants from other countries.

If you can help Osee and his partners further their initiative, or you are a recent or new immigrant youth to Surrey who could use some support, please contact Bienvenue Osee at bienvenue1@live.ca or 604-368-9228.

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Events

Vancouver Fashion Week FW18 Highlights

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Vancouver Fashion Week FW18 at the David Lam Hall in downtown Vancouver

This season featured an epic line up of design talent from across the globe. Showcasing the best in local Canadian talent as well as designers representing Australia, Ghana, Japan, Chile, Korea, and more, VFW offered variety like no other. Special guest Miss J Alexander, America’s Next Top Model Coach attended the shows, and the Instagram famous Christopher the Pig brought smiles to the audience as he opened and closed the show for Bia Boro Bamboo’s underwear line.

Qiongxin Kou, a Chinese designer based in New York, showcased a dreamy collection of womenswear in pretty pinks, bright blues, and canary yellows. Thigh high mirror shine silver boots are contrasted with soft textured knits. Silky shining ruffles and pleated layers, flared sleeves, and printed quilted jackets demonstrate a thoughtful collection of wearable pieces.

Beautiful oriental prints with delicate flowers and shapes filled the runway for Japanese label Baroque Japanesque. An earthy colour palette of deep golds, reds, and blacks set the tone for FW18, with prints adorning silky layers. Japanese designer Shiori Watanabe has created a wide selection of printed pieces to adapt into your wardrobe from skin-tight leggings to kimonos; the exquisite print is placed throughout with matching umbrellas as a highlight.

Allison Nicole Designs from Maryland, U.S showcased a line of elegant femininity, with soft, flowing silks and satins that gently caressed and accentuated the body, each garment adorned with signature, intricate florals. A romantic collection inspired by the female form with muted off-white, blush, pink, and nude shades. A-line waists and free-flowing silhouettes were enhanced with delicate lace, embroidery, sparkling embellishments, and tulle tiers.

Local brand King and Reign presented a show-stopping collection that exuded elegance. Ethereal gowns in soft hues of blush and aqua graced the runway with a dreamlike quality. Plunging necklines and bodices of feathery lace were paired with trailing skirts of airy chiffon that floated around the runway. The collection exquisitely expressed femininity as a work of art.

La Salle College, the Fashion Design Program in Vancouver curated a selection of students work under the theme Global Warming – rethink, reuse, recycle. The first designer was Shuo Yang, who beautifully layered blue and white tones together. Second, Azam Rezahosseini transitioned to gold and floral details, with pops of colour from the inside linings of black and white pieces. A full-length black tulle skirt added volume to a line of sleek bodysuits, slitted pants, and high waisted short shorts by Daniela Dominguez. Sharp black and white contrasts were utilized with creative cuts and mesh fabrics, with textures created by boning and fastenings. Next, Gurkirat Narang’s collection brought pastel hues of nude, red and green to life with detailed high extended necklines. Alannah Anderson closed with a textured collection of ruffled tulle in navy blue.

Bright clashing colours and eccentric prints marked Barbara Riordan’s collection for U.S brand Pariah. The designer’s brazen sense of humour shone through her new unisex line, ‘Alchemy’, with vibrant cartoon prints on sweaters, circle skirts, and trench coats. Black is used throughout as a contrast to emphasize the vivid tones. A highlight look; a bright yellow comic strip printed two piece featuring cropped fitted jacket and a 3 tiered mini skirt with contrast burgundy edging.

San Fran based brand JK Menswear presented deconstruction-style mens outerwear for FW18. Designer Julie Kintner, inspired by the ‘uncut’ aesthetic of walking in the forest, getting lost and feeling raw, plays with patterns and textures that complement nature, with contrasts of neon and metallic for effect. Silkscreen prints feature on loose-fitting utility coats, pleated t-shirts, hoodies, drawstring shorts, pants, and bomber jackets.

Arizona based designer Alexander Sanchez showcased a flamboyant collection of feminine gowns. The elegant line expressed high luxury design and style with a transition through yards of black silk, structured dresses and jackets, sleek velvet, sequins, white lace, frilled hems, and ruffled cuffs. The showpiece; a full-length lace number in vibrant red complete with long train gave a dramatic finale.

Inspired by shadow and reflection, Australian designer Allie Howard looks at revealing and concealing the body. Leather is developed with laser cutting, bonding, layering, weaving, and stacking creating intricate textures for her FW 18 collection GRID. A collection of hybrid forms of natural fibres, leather and organza silk; this is clean and sophisticated womenswear with beautiful finishes and graphic shapes

Japanese designer Nozomi Kuwahara presented a playful collection in a bold colour palette of yellows, pinks, purples, and reds. Hints of humour shine through the line with a yellow high turtleneck totally covering the face, a mock crocodile leather dress complete with eyeball embellishments, and colourful ‘shoe monsters’ adorning the models feet. Experiments in fluffy faux fur and a red sparkly ‘tongue’ wrap around dress gave a youthful feel for FW18.

Photography by Arun Nevader from Getty Images


Follow Surrey604 on Instagram for daily coverage.

About Vancouver Fashion Week (VFW)

VFW is the fastest growing fashion week in the world and the only industry event that actively seeks out to showcase international award winning designers from over 25 global fashion capitals. For 30 seasons, Vancouver Fashion Week has celebrated multiculturalism and up-and-coming on their runways. We strive to identify undiscovered designers by providing an accessible and internationally reputable platform. Through international media coverage and cogent buyer connectivity, VFW has provided the exposure to project past designers on to the stages of success.


Related Video Series

Amazon India Fashion Week SS18 Full Coverage
SURREY604 IN COLLABORATION WITH RAASLEELA TRENDS TV, BRINGS YOU THE BEST IN FASHION AND UPDATES ON THE LATEST INTERNATIONAL TRENDS.

In this series, we are bringing complete coverage of Asia’s biggest Fashion Week “India Fashion Week” home to Surrey. More than 100 selected fashion designers participating and more than 50 showcasing on the runway. The crew of Amazon India Fashion Week consists of models, technicians, make-up crew, backstage help, security, volunteers, and more, which sums up to at least 150 people.

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Watch all of Surrey604’s FVDED in the Park Festival Documentaries 2015-2016

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Surrey’s biggest outdoor EDM music festival, FVDED in the Park is just a couple of weeks away. With major headliners like The Chainsmokers and Wiz Khalifa, this could be the biggest and craziest one yet.

FVDED in the Park 2017 poster

Surrey604 will be there to bring you all the action again, but for now let’s share in some FVDED In The Park memories leading up to the big event. Were you there in 2015? 2016? Relive the action through our festival documentaries below!


Surrey604 Does FVDED in the Park 2016 (Uncensored)


Surrey604 returns to Holland Park for FVDED in the Park 2016 with headliners Jack Ü and Zedd featuring Travis Scott, Bryson Tiller and tons more. This major electronic dance music (EDM) festival is held right in downtown Surrey, British Columbia each summer. Sukh Johal and Daman Beatty, along with Surrey604 newcomer Summan Kandola you around to see the sights, sounds and people at FVDED in the Park 2016. Watch now (15 minutes)!


Glimpses of FVDED in the Park 2015 Day 2


Surrey604’s Sukh Johal and Daman Beatty visit the party goers, scenes and sounds of Day 2 of FVDED in the Park 2015 at Holland Park in Surrey, British Columbia.


Glimpses of Surrey’s FVDED in the Park 2015 Day 1


Sukh Johal from Surrey604 takes you around the sites at Day 1 of FVDED in the Park 2015 at Holland Park in Surrey, British Columbia.


The FVDED in the Park Experience Featuring DJ Destructo


Experience Surrey BC’s biggest and hottest ever outdoor EDM summer music festival. Relive the first ever FVDED in the Park at Holland Park featuring headliners Deadmau5 and The Weeknd in 2015.

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Arts and Entertainment

Backstage with Russell Peters

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Backstage with Russell Peters on his “Almost Famous World Tour” at the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond, Vancouver 2015. By Sukh Johal and Trevino Warren

Listed by Forbes as the fourth highest paid comedian (just after Jerry Seinfeld), Russell Peters was in town recently for his “Almost Famous World Tour.” Peters performed to sold out crowds at the River Rock Casino Resort.

After the show he performed a live DJ set in the main lobby spinning hip hop tracks where crowds of fans danced the night away.

Surrey604’s Sukh Johal and Trevino Warren hung out and interviewed Russell Peters backstage. They also spoke with fans as they exited the theatre after Russell’s performance and on the floor during his DJ Set. Watch the video to catch all the action.

Sukh Johal speaking to Russell Peters fans after the show.

Sukh Johal speaking to Russell Peters fans after the show.

Russell Peters DJ Set at River Rock Casino Resort

Russell Peters DJ Set at River Rock Casino Resort

Sukh Johal speaks with Riaz Meghji at the Russell Peters “Almost Famous World Tour”

Sukh Johal speaks with Breakfast Television’s Riaz Meghji at the Russell Peters “Almost Famous World Tour”

Sukh Johal joking around with Russell Peters backstage at the River Rock Casino Resort.

Sukh Johal joking around with Russell Peters backstage at the River Rock Casino Resort.

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28may7:00 pm7:30 pmOnline Youth Nights - DIY with Surrey Leadership Youth Council7:00 pm - 7:30 pm Location: Online Cost: Free

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