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



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 or 604-368-9228.

Taslim combines her love of writing and social change by telling the stories that build bridges among people. Her motivating forces are her 3 children and her INFJ personality. Taslim is a regular contributor to Huffington Post Canada and Yummy Mummy Club, and a columnist for Peace Arch News. She has romantic notions of travel writing across European countrysides and historic African towns but her heart belongs to Surrey, B.C. You can connect with Taslim on Twitter and Instagram @taslimjaffer.


Coldest Night of the Year Event Raising Funds and Awareness For Those In Need



“Social wellness for our community” is their mission, and for over forty years, Sources Community Resources Society has been providing help, encouragement, and hope for local individuals and families across the Province. Stretching their impact throughout Surrey, White Rock, Delta, Langley, Prince George, and Parksville, they offer a number of services and programs throughout 20 locations, and touch over 40,000 individuals and families in need each year.

As the first social service agency in British Columbia and the 13th in Canada to be accredited by the internationally-recognized Council on Accreditation, Sources supports communities through leadership, education and volunteerism – reaching children, youth, families, persons with disabilities, seniors, LGBTQ2S+ individuals, and others coping with isolation, addiction, mental illness, poverty, disability, and conflict.

This year’s Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY) on Saturday, February 22nd in White Rock is just another example of the impact they have on our local communities. This family-friendly walking event helps raise funds for charities serving hungry, homeless, and hurting people in our community while increasing awareness on the topic itself. With a goal of fundraising more than $100,000, the proceeds raised will be put towards Homeless Prevention Services and the Rent Bank.

The Rent Bank is a service under the umbrella of Homeless Prevention Services, focusing on providing support to individuals and families who have low or insufficient income to access nutritious food, apply for income supports, medical disability benefits, receive legal aid, and ultimately, avoid homelessness. 100% of funds raised at the CNOY event will go towards it’s efforts to provide housing security to those in need.

Until last year, the government did not provide any funding for such services, however they now provide partial funding (by application). Although this does not ensure Sources will receive funding, it showed a clear understanding that the need is present. These programs help to assist local individuals and families who are living on a low income, and who are at extreme risk for homelessness.

This happens by supporting these individuals to achieve and maintain housing stability by facilitating and easing access to various income support or providing micro-loans for outstanding (overdue) rental or utility payments, damage deposits, or first month’s rent. The goal is to have people develop their independence and become self-sufficient by getting a (safe) home, and keeping a home.

In previous years, the impact remained strong, with Sources fully utilizing their budget for loans, and this past year showed no difference. From April 2019 until January 2020 alone, Sources received 383 service requests to assist with tenancy, housing, and income support matters. Case management services were provided to one hundred and eighty supporting with disability, income assistance, and other income support paperwork. In this same period alone, the Rent Bank approved 17 loans, providing $16,650 in assistance – helping a total of 38 people.

So how can you get involved? If you feel like walking 2, 5, or 10km for the cause, there is still time to register to participate among the other 49 teams and 233+ walkers, volunteer, or you can do your part donating to the cause and spreading the word! The White Rock chapter is just short of raising $60,000 raised – which means another $40,000 to go to achieve their $100,000 goal. Let’s come together as a community to make it happen and help those in need!

For more information on the Coldest Night of the Year event or the Sources Community Resources Society, take a look at their social media channels before:

Coldest Night of the Year:


Sources Community Resources Society:


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1 Billion Rising



As part of the One Billion Rising campaign to end violence against women, and the 11th annual UN World Interfaith Harmony Week community members from various faith groups will gather to create care packages for women and children living in transitional housing, shelters, and low income housing.

Surrey, BC: On February 5, 2020, we will be creating care packages filled with personal hygiene necessities to help women and children across the Lower Mainland. This will be our 8th year in uniting as neighbours from many cultures and faiths to collaborate and enrich our communities. This free event is family friendly and is open to the public.

Date and Time: Wednesday, February 5th, 2020; 6-8pm
Location: L.A. Matheson Secondary School 9484 122 Street Surrey, BC V3V 4M1
Event Format: 6-6:30pm cedar brushing and refreshments 6:30-8pm program and assembly of care packages
Event Registration:

In February 2019, we were honoured to have Vera Jones, from Indian Residential School Survivors Society, talk to us about the struggles facing Indigenous women in British Columbia. We also created care packages for almost 1,000 people in our communities.

This year, we’re continuing the conversations we’ve started and building on our tradition of helping women and children in need. We will be supporting organizations such as:

  • Ama Transition House
  • Azure Place
  • Bill Reid Place
  • Charlford House
  • Cynthia’s Place
  • Dixon House
  • Durrant Transition House
  • Elizabeth Gurney House
  • Evergreen Transition House
  • Extreme weather shelters in the Lower Mainland
  • Firth Residence
  • Fraserside Emergency Family Shelter
  • Hyland House
  • Joy’s Place
  • Kenkinow Native Housing Society
  • Koomseh Housing
  • Maxxine Wright Place
  • Monarch Place
  • Nova House
  • Shimai Transition House
  • Springhouse
  • Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter
  • Vi Fineday Family Shelter Society

Members of Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society will be welcoming event participants by doing cedar brushing, a traditional practice used to help clear negative energy. This will be followed by brief presentations by our partnering organizations, the reading of an official proclamation from the City of Surrey declaring February 1-7th UN World International Harmony Week, and the assembly of more than 500 care packages.

A similar event will be held in Vancouver at the Jewish Culture Center on Monday, February 3rd.

Our community partners include:

  • Global Girl Power represented by Lucky Kaur Gill
  • Global Peace Alliance
  • Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen represented by Tej Kaur Sumbal
  • Kaur Project represented by Jessie Kaur Lehail
  • Mustang Justice represented by Annie O’hana
  • Surrey Interfaith Council represented by Jonquil Hallgate and Sherry Marceil
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints represented by Sherry Marceil
  • World Sikh Organization represented by Amanpreet Kaur Panesar
  • Worldwide Shift Disturbers represented by Zach Coumont

Background on One Billion Rising provided from:


1 in 3 women across the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. That’s ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS. Every February, we rise – in countries across the world – to show our local communities and the world what one billion looks like and shine a light on the rampant impunity and injustice that survivors most often face. We rise through dance to express joy and community and celebrate the fact that we have not been defeated by this violence. We rise to show we are determined to create a new kind of consciousness – one where violence will be resisted until it is unthinkable.

One Billion Rising is the biggest mass action to end violence against women (cisgender, transgender, and those who hold fluid identities that are subject to gender- based violence) in human history. The campaign, which launched on Valentine’s Day 2012, began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS.

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Perminder Chohan Foundation – Making the Holiday Season Better



As the holiday season comes to an end with the arrival of 2020, everyone should be able to find some food and warmth in the upcoming winter months of the new year. With this intention at heart, the Perminder Chohan Foundation organized multiple events in the days leading to Christmas – a food drive, a blanket drive, and a scrumptious lunch was organized for the less fortunate.

The food and blanket drives – were the second for the Foundation set up by B.C. philanthropist and businessman, Perminder Chohan. The community and Mr. Chohan’s friends came out to support the charitable events. All canned and non-perishable items collected at the Food Drive held in November were donated to the Surrey Food Bank.

The Foundations Blanket Drive was held on December 15th and more than 250 new blankets were donated. All blankets will be further donated to shelters in the Lower Mainland. The Foundation also sponsored and served lunch at the First United Church in Vancouver on December 16th, over 200 plated lunches were served.Mr. Chohan, the Managing Director of Desjardins Financial Security Independent Network – BC set up the Foundation to provide adequate education, proper healthcare and everyday living needs for the people who need it the most.

For more information or to make a Donation to the Perminder Chohan Foundation, please visit

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World Mental Health Day – Portraits



My Name Is Desiré Amouzou, and I am a Producer and Photojournalist for I love working with Surrey604 a growing and developing grassroots magazine about Surrey and beyond.

Like any new endeavour it has its challenges though, and for me that challenge hasn’t been being part of a relatively new magazine but my personal struggles with my Mental Health, in particular my struggle with Depression.

Some days are great and some days it’s an all out battle to maintain balance. Throughout, I’ve been shown love and care and respect by friends, colleagues and even at times total strangers, and I try to do the same in return on every occasion.

At the same time I’ve also been exposed to the Stigma and Judgment attached to Mental Illnesses, especially as a Visible Minority and as nice as I am when people get to know me, still my height and size can be off putting to some at first glance.

That’s why I am choosing to support this months World Mental Health Day on October 10th.


To help educate while doing something that I love, that helps me feel amazing and helps connect with people and make them feel awesome. Just like my true friends have done for me….I am forever indebted to them.

To support this day I am offering, from now till October 10th, along with any photographer who might join me, to anyone and everyone,

1. mini 30 minute portrait session for $50, which gives you 3 portraits in 24 hours for you to chose and the rest to purchase. 30% of the profits of each shoot goes to a non-for profit organization that supports men’s mental health awareness, diagnosis and treatment.

After the 10th I will continue till November by donating 20% of all my bookings, whether portraits or videography or corporate or creative projects.

I have set a goal of $1000 donated by October 10th. Thus far I’ve  secured $250 in bookings .

Book me now by either emailing me at

Or phone call at 1-604-799-3757

I will be in SFU and Surrey Central area as well as the vancouver library on October 10th running a full day push on portraits and donations to the cause.

Subscribe to my Instagram Page below for updates on all my projects.

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Holly Elementary Gains Meal Program Funding With Donation From Great Clips



Great Clips continues back-to-school donations with over $33,000 CAD
check presented at school event

Local elementary school students will be better set up for success in the classroom at Holly Elementary thanks to a donation from Great Clips, Inc. The world’s largest salon brand, Great Clips® is donating to deserving schools across the U.S. and Canada as part of its Back-to-School campaign. This morning, Holly Elementary in Surrey, British Columbia received an over $33,000 CAD donation to help support the school’s meal program.

Holly Elementary Principal Andrew Shook shared that the donation will fund their breakfast and lunch meal programs. The breakfast and lunch programs respectively serve over 70 and 350 students each school day. The school has seen significant increases in grades and attendance among students since the meal program was implemented, and the donation will also support field trips for students.

Great Clips visited the school today to deliver supplies and Monster Jam® driver Cam McQueen met with students to get them excited for the school year. Great Clips, Inc. presented the check to Principal Shook.

“Children without a filling, nutritious breakfast and lunch end up thinking more about their hunger than anything else, so their learning and growth suffers,” said Surrey Board of Education chairwoman Laurie Larsen. “Our board needs and is grateful for community partners like Great Clips who provide such important support for children and our Holly Elementary community.”

“As students return to school, Great Clips is proud to give back to deserving schools and support programs across the U.S. and Canada,” said Great Clips franchisee and Vancouver co-op president Keith Chalmers. “We’re honoured to be able to help Holly Elementary students reach success in and out of the classroom.”

For the second consecutive year, Great Clips and Monster Jam are supporting schools and communities across the United States and Canada with donations that can be used for supplies, enrichment programming or other critical needs. In July, Great Clips pledged to donate $1 to schools for every download of the Great Clips Online Check-In app from August 1 through September 8 with the goal of donating $400,000 USD. For more information about Great Clips’ Back-to-School campaign, visit

About Great Clips, Inc.

Great Clips, Inc. was established in 1982 in Minneapolis. Today, Great Clips has over 4,400 salons throughout the United States and Canada, making it the world’s largest salon brand. Great Clips is 100 percent franchised, and salons are owned locally by more than 1,200 franchisees across North America. Great Clips franchisees employ nearly 40,000 stylists who receive ongoing training to learn the Great Clips customer care system and advanced technical skills. As a walk-in salon, Great Clips provides value-priced, high-quality haircare for men, women and children. Getting a great haircut at Great Clips is more convenient than ever with Online Check-In and Clip Notes®. To check-in online, visit or download the free app for Android and iPhone. For more information about Great Clips, Inc. or to find a location near you, visit

About Monster Jam

Monster Jam® features world-class male and female athletes competing in the same events for the same championships on the same perfectly engineered dirt tracks that push these ever-evolving, state-of-the-art trucks to the limit. Beyond live events, the Monster Jam brand extends off the track into the home through products, content and merchandise that keeps the fun alive year-round. For more information, visit

About Feld Entertainment, Inc.

Feld Entertainment® is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live touring family entertainment experiences that bring people together and uplift the human spirit. Properties include Monster Jam®, Monster Energy Supercross, Disney On Ice, Disney Live!, Marvel Universe LIVE!, Sesame Street Live!, Jurassic World Live Tour and DreamWorks Trolls The Experience. Across the brand portfolio, Feld Entertainment has entertained millions of families in more than 75 countries and on six continents. Visit for more information.

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30jan(jan 30)8:00 pm26apr(apr 26)11:59 pmArtists involve Surrey community in interactive outdoor artwork(january 30) 8:00 pm - (april 26) 11:59 pm Surrey Art Gallary Cost: Free

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