KidsPlay and Wake Up Surrey have partnered in a forum that will be discussing the dangers of drug and gang culture in Surrey on November 25th. The forum will be taking place at the Royal King Banquet Hall between 12 pm and 3 pm. The event is free, being open to the entire public. KidsPlay will be distributing $1000 in scholarships to any students attending.
The forum aims to teach parents and their kids the dangers of the drug and gang lifestyle through keynote speakers who have been involved in said lifestyle, followed by a Q & A segment where the audience can ask questions. Gurpreet Singh Sahota, head of Wake Up Surrey, said, “how can we stop bullying in schools?
How can we educate would be gangsters? How can we educate kids about role modelling and mentorships? Through people who have done good in academics or in sports. Don’t look at gangsters, that’s not the right choice.”
One of the speakers at the forum, Shenan Charania, was involved in a gang for about 10 years. Charania wants to do more than explain the dangers of drugs and gangs but wants to expose the entire lifestyle, while allowing for youth to make their own decisions. Charania will be doing this through sharing personal experiences from his youth.
“If you join a gang you become incapable of joining a civilized society. When I got out it took me so long. The hardest thing, among so many of the difficult things I had to learn, the hardest for me was to learn how to assimilate myself back into a civilized society and behave like a regular person,” said Charania.
KidsPlay CEO and member of the VPD, Kal Dosanj founded KidsPlay after noticing how easily children were entering the drug and gang lifestyle. Dosanj said, “I just thought that if at some juncture we were to intervene and provide kids with mentorships, guidance, coaching, love and support, and programming maybe they would deter from that path, maybe change their trajectory all together.”
Dosanj hopes to provide sports programming and extracurricular activities to children across the lower mainland regardless of their socio-economic status. While KidsPlay operates all across the lower-mainland the organization does have a focus on Surrey.