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Surrey based entrepreneur and activist, launches new clothing line.

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She’s a curator; a fashion designer, marketer, activist, and so much more. She’s Amneet Athwal. Local Surrey-resident, Amneet Athwal is always striving to become the best version of herself while empowering others in the community to do the same. “I explore new brands/companies and their best version of themselves by marketing them in my style choices.” From a young age, Athwal would create an image of herself five years forward, and work towards that vision of herself.

“When I would reach ‘her,’ I would paint another picture of myself to start all over again to do the same thing” says Athwal. A true believer of the power of positive thought and visualization, Athwal explains that “dreams only come to life if you execute to make sure you see that image unfold in front of your eyes.” A self-identified ‘tomboy’ growing up, Athwal always considered herself athletic.

Playing soccer for a total of 16 years. When she was enrolled in her final year at Panorama Ridge Secondary in 2013, she traded in the soccer ball and cleats for a sketchbook and pencil, when she recalls having at least 20 blank pages on her at any given time where she would be sketching away various designs for her envisioned graduation dress. “Every day I would add, take away or redo the look.

But what I sketched was what I wore. It was me.” From this moment on, she truly knew that wherever life took her, there would be a creative aspect involved. Following her high school graduation, Athwal journeyed on towards completing a degree in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, with a minor in Biochemistry. Athwal prides herself on acting as a young role model in the community, and is actively involved in Surrey and beyond with a variety of different initiatives.

SOAR Philanthropic Society is a youth-led non-profit organization in British Columbia that recognizes and values hardworking individuals in the community who wish to pursue their passions in post secondary education. They assist in creating an environment that connects youth to scholarships offering and hosts innovative projects that aim to motivate and drive the future generation of leaders.

“We believe that there should be no barriers in achieving academic excellence and reaching your highest potential. Our educational resources not only provide support, but inspire youth to achieve further excellence.” Youth Transforming Society on the other hand, is a registered non-profit based out of Surrey that “aims to raise awareness for local and global issues, and encourages volunteerism among young people.”

It has since been taken in control of by the local School District, which “the team and I are very fortunate of” explains Athwal. Finally, the I AM youth program was initiated with the purpose “to connect elementary school girls to highschool girls to make the transition experience a breeze. It was run by all females and catered to females.”

Beyond these aforementioned organizations in the past and present, Athwal now participates in the ‘Limitless’ Panel as well. The panel gathers on the last Thursday of every month with the intent of bringing diverse communities together to share stories and learn from one another.

“We host interactive discussion-based workshop[s] that aim to connect those who aspire to create meaningful impact. Let’s talk about how love, lifestyle, learning, leverage, and the lessons that we’ve learned experiencing them. Let’s have an open conversation about living a life with no limits.”

And when she is not managing her portfolio of non-for-profit organizations, she also works to provide support for students through various mentorship programs and assist in fundraising efforts for a variety of local causes. Clearly demonstrated, she exudes a strong ambition to be present and readily-available in serving her community, and she communicates how she always thinks about the purpose behind her actions or the activities she devotes her time to in Surrey.

“This city means the world to me; a relationship that’s always growing. Grateful to call this city my home.” But what is one of Amneet’s biggest accomplishments to date? Launching her new clothing line, Allure by Amneet, at this year’s South Asian Fashion Week in last month. The South Asian Fashion Week was launched to offer a representation of the intersection of East meets West in our community (and respective design), and a perfect opportunity for such a launch to get in front of many important eyes in the fashion community.

“Being the youngest on the ramp, I got to learn the presence of being humble and valued.” This line is a part of the brand AMNEET – perceive you, which focuses on perceiving yourself in the light you wish to see yourself in. “The brand was inspired by my journey and the artist[s] I admire the most.” The style is catered to the every-day, working, woman. As Amneet describes it, it’s for any woman inspired to feel powerful – whether that is in the classroom, art studio, courtroom, or private practice.

Athwal sketches all of her clothing designs, chooses the specific fabrics, and even sews pieces as well, in collaboration with the ‘hand picked professionals’ in the tailoring industry that she chooses to make her big orders with. The clothing line will be available to order online in early April when the website launches, and all items will be produced on an order-to-order basis, with custom fits incorporated.

“My dream is to be on the red carpet [and] have international figures wear my line. My hope is not just [for] females, but [for] all humans [to] understand the brand.” And what’s next for the multi-faceted Amneet Athwal beyond the clothing line launch? A hand-painted, jewellery line, called All Vivid.

“My dream is to be on the red carpet [and] have international figures wear my line. My hope is not just [for] females, but [for] all humans [to] understand the brand.” And what’s next for the multi-faceted Amneet Athwal beyond the clothing line launch? A hand-painted, jewellery line, called All Vivid.

To add to this super woman’s list of accomplishments, she has a long list of accolades among the community. She was recently a recipient of the Top 25 Under 25 Award by the Surrey Board of Trade for her philanthropic initiatives and leadership within the community, and in 2015, she was recognized at the annual Shakti Awards for being one of the top leaders in Greater Vancouver.

When Athwal is not participating in community initiatives or sketching designs, you can find her making mood boards, reading, enjoying a good cup of coffee, or networking and meeting new people. Positive thinking, visualization, giving back to the community you call home, and always pursuing your dreams.

Are just a few of the many amazing things Amneet Athwal stands for. A positive role-model, creative, and philanthropist; a Surrey citizen set out for greatness who is only just getting started. To follow Amneet Athwal and keep tracks on her upcoming fashion line website launch or other philanthropic initiatives, take a look at her websites and social media accounts:

limitless-panel.comwww.soarps.org | @aamneet – personal account | @perceiveyou – clothing line

Robyn is a status-quo disruptor, an old-soul, and has a serious passion towards continuous learning driven by a curiosity for the unknown. A creative and equally analytical thinker with experience in leadership, project management and marketing strategy. When she’s not working you can find her in the kitchen, searching for new music, or meandering local thrift stores, antique stores, or flea markets for a unique find.

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Uber expands ridesharing service to Abbotsford, Aldergrove and Langley Township

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Uber is expanding its ridesharing service to Abbotsford, Aldergrove and all of Langley Township. Residents across the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley now have expanded access to a safe, reliable and affordable transportation alternative at the touch of a button, and drivers will have additional flexible earning opportunities.

Uber has implemented new safety features and policies to keep riders and drivers safe as we navigate this new normal together including:

  • Go Online Checklist: Riders and drivers will confirm safety precautions to help stop the spread of COVID-19 including a selfie confirmation to ensure drivers are wearing a face mask or cover
  • Driver Screening: Everyone who drives with Uber is screened before their first trip. In addition, Uber reruns these driver screenings every year and uses technology to look for issues in between.
  • 24/7 Safety Support: If you need safety support or assistance, Uber’s dedicated and trained support team is available at all times to provide help
  • Phone Anonymization: Privacy is a top priority at Uber. The Uber app conceals driver and rider phone numbers so they are able to securely call/text each other through the app without revealing their information
  • Emergency Button Access: Both riders and drivers can contact 911 directly from the Uber app and provide a GPS location and trip details with authorities in emergency situations

In addition to these new features and policies, Uber is distributing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to help keep delivery people and drivers safe as they serve their communities. We are sending in-app notifications to active drivers and delivery people in each city – providing guidance on how to request health and safety supplies (screencap below).

Drivers and delivery people can request those supplies and have them shipped directly to their home. So far, more than 55,000 PPE supplies have been distributed in the Lower Mainland.

To see the updated service area map, please visit here.

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Business

How BC Resorts and Hotels are Reopening for Phase Three COVID-19 Restrictions

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BC premier, John Horgan announced the plan for the province to move to phase three of reopening. This phase includes the reopening of hotels, motels, cabins, RV resorts, etc. According to the BC government website, “The accommodation industry was not ordered to close by the Provincial Health Officer.

Many operators closed voluntarily and are now preparing to welcome guests in Phase 3.” Opus Vancouver plans to welcome back customers in August and released the safety changes that have been made to welcome guests back.

Opus Vancouver mentions that guests are required to stand six feet apart from guests who aren’t travelling with them in all areas of the hotel, they have also installed plexi glass screen at the front desks, and the hotel plans to “introduce a contactless check-in and keyless entry program over the coming months.”

As BC’s Centre for Disease Control advises handwashing and hand sanitizing when water is unavailable, OPUS Vancouver plans to provide guests, employees and visitors with hand sanitizer; as well as providing dispensers around the hotel. OPUS Vancouver has also released a detailed explanation in regards to the cleaning of the hotel amenities.

They mentioned limiting the number of guests in the fitness room to one and cleaning up after each guest is finished. The buffet eating will also be halted for the time being “and replaced [with] alternative service styles such as individually plated and served meals, to customized individual grab and go boxes.”

Other hotels in Surrey are assisting customers with their bookings and reservations. Like Sandman Suites Surrey-Guildford mentions their offering of full credits for future bookings until 2021 for all prepaid non-refundable reservations past July 1.

The Civic Hotel, Autograph Collection is also aiding new customer bookings by allowing “reservation to be changed or cancelled at no charge up to 24 hours before … scheduled arrival date.” This is for reservations “for any future arrival date” and … “reservations with prepaid rates.” According to their website, this is available till July 5.

BC’s phase three reopening also includes travelling within the province so for residents who are planning to visit one of BC’s many beautiful towns and cities, the government has some rules in place. Residents of British Columbia are asked “to be respectful of the communities [they] plan to visit and be safe as [they] enjoy the many beautiful locations across [the] province.”

Visitors from other provinces and territories are also asked to follow the same guidelines in place for British Columbians. The BC government website also includes a list of guidelines for people thinking about traveling this summer. The government asks that residents “consider the health and safety of people in [their] bubble, and whether [they] want to take any extra risks.”

Residents are also asked to follow the safety rules in place. That includes washing of hands, physical distancing, staying in small groups, and cleaning of space. Many RV parks are accepting guests and have put up rules in regards to covid-19. Livingstone RV Park in Langley announced the closing of its office to the public and appointments can be made by calling the number on their website.

They have also closed the showers and washroom to the guests and they ask that guests “have no outside visitors during [their] stay and that [they] maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet between [their] camping neighbors until the ban is lifted.”

Other RV parks like Pacific Border RV Park in Surrey, Burnaby Cariboo RV Park and Campground in Burnaby are also open for guests.

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Support Our Surrey (SOS): Team of Justin and Trace

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I’ve seen so many members of our community helping each other out during COVID-19, that it makes my heart swell. I’m so happy to be giving another Support Our Surrey shout-out to longstanding members of our Fraser Valley community – the real estate team of Justin and Trace, from Macdonald Realty.

Justin Glasser and Trace Sowerby have been active realtors in the Fraser Valley for over 15 years. Maybe you’ve seen their friendly faces in the mail? As downtown Surrey began to grow and burgeon approximately 15 years ago, Justin and Trace have not only been growing with the city, but they’ve been growing with many of the young residents and families that call Surrey their home.

During COVID, they’ve used their marketing platform and resources to support and highlight other local businesses in the community, by hosting an Instagram series called QUARANTINE 15 – a “weekly segment updating our community on local business in 15 minutes or less”. You can follow Justin and Trace on Instagram at justin_traceteam to find these segments, as well as here.

Businesses they've featured are:

If you ever get the pleasure of meeting Justin, Trace, or their colleague, Bethany, you’ll know immediately that the care and respect they have for their community and fellow residents, runs deep. It’s their personal care, whether as their clients or someone living in the same community as them, that really make the Justin and Trace Team, shine and standout. Get to know them a bit on Facebook: facebook.com/justinandtracehomes

You can also learn more about the Justin and Trace Team on their official site, here, and be sure to check out the businesses they’ve highlighted so that we can all continue to keep this spirit of community going!

Dear readers: As BC begins to re-open, it’s a great opportunity for business to welcome us back – please reach out to share local businesses that are now open so we can feature them and make sure our community knows how we an Support Our Surrey.

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Business

How Barbershops and Retailers are Welcoming Customers during BC’s Phase Two Re-opening

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Giant Retailers, Hudson Bay and Sephora have opened their doors to customers in Surrey. While both companies spoke about their excitement to welcome back customers, they have also released information on the new store hours and how they plan to enforce safety guidelines and social distancing rules. Sephora released a post which detailed the changes they planned to make to their stores while ensuring the safety of their customers. The company plans to maintain the two metre distancing rule and limit the amount of customers in the store.

The company is also making sure hand sanitizers are made available “at the front entrance and key areas throughout the store” They also plan to “sanitize baskets before giving them to [customers], disinfect products and tools, and clean surfaces every two hours or after every use.”

As the beauty company is known for having testers made available, this will no longer be the case and the company also plans to take the temperature of their staff at the beginning of their shift and in the middle of their shift.

Hudson Bay, another retailer that has opened its doors to residents of Surrey has introduced a way for customers to receive their items in a safe way. The company has introduced curbside pickup. The company mentioned the pickups being ready in “as little as 3 hours”

This is made available everyday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and when customers arrive, they are asked to remain in their car while an associate helps them load the item. The customer can also “advise” the associate on where to place the item if they do not want it loaded in their car, according to the company. Some other new changes from the store is, allocating Tuesdays for senior shoppers and Thursdays for frontline workers.

Along with other retailers and businesses, Hudson Bay has introduced sanitizers around the stores, increased cleaning, physical distancing, and touchless pay. BC’s second phase of reopening doesn’t include only retail stores. Barbershops and salons are now open to the public with guidelines in place.

Lookin’ Sharp Barbershop is based in Richmond BC, and it recently opened doors to customers. Co owner and founder of the shop, Bebo, spoke about the safety guidelines in place as he and his staff welcome back customers.

“Right now we are not allowing [anyone] without a mask and [we also] have … guidelines and protocols before the client [enters the shop],” says Bebo.

Some of the new guidelines Bebo spoke of was having clients make appointments before their haircuts, as before the pandemic, the shop took walk-ins only.
“We removed all the chairs [in] the waiting area, so there’s no waiting inside the shop,” says Bebo.

“When [a] client comes, they need to wait outside until their scheduled appointment, and [we also] put … a hand sanitizer station [for clients],” says Bebo.

Bebo also mentioned his shop giving out masks to customers who come without one. He spoke about the safety guidelines for his staff, saying they had to wear masks and gloves, and disinfect their whole workstation before and after each client. Bebo also mentioned his shop terminating 80 per cent of their services.

“… Hair [wax], threading, face masks, and facials … are no longer available,” says Bebo. “Basically right now we are only providing the haircuts and hair wash,” he added.

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Uber Connect: Easier than ever to send packages to others

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As we learn to live in the new normal, Uber wants to help you navigate through this new life and make your life a little bit easier. Uber is launching a new product, Uber Connect, to make it easier than ever to send packages, items, and goods to others.

Uber Connect allows users to send packages to others. It’s an affordable same-day contactless delivery solution.

Whether it’s a care package for a loved one, a gift for a friend’s birthday, an item you sold online or an important business document, you can send it by requesting “Uber Connect” through the Uber app. Now you can have the kids create a work of art for Grandma and get it over to her house before dinner.

Matthew Price, General Manager of Uber Canada, said Uber Connect was designed to make it easier for people to deliver things to others and stay connected.

“During this challenging time for Canadians we wanted to create an affordable and quick way for people to send items to each other. This feature minimises the need to travel, while helping people stay connected. We know Canadians want to help each other out and have seen a tremendous sense of community rise up in the recent weeks. By focusing on helping to safely move people and the delivery of items, we want to participate in the collective effort to tame the new normal”.

How it works:

Uber Connect is now available in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.

  • Package the items in a sealed box or bag, wiping down surfaces with disinfectant.
  • Tell your driver ‘Where to?’ in your Uber app.
  • Choose Uber Connect as the ride (you may have to swipe up for the option).
  • Follow the notifications: You’ll get notifications providing instructions on how to help ensure a smooth pickup and when your driver is arriving, just like a trip with UberX. As you see the car approach in the app, you should head outside and load your item into the car’s trunk.
  • Share the trip status with up to 5 people in your contact list. Unless it’s a surprise gift, one of these should be the recipient so they can easily monitor the delivery’s progress.

Uber Connect is one way for Canadians to move what matters most. As part of Uber’s commitment to Moving What Matters in Canada, Uber has pledged over $6m in free rides, meals, and food deliveries for Canada – providing those to healthcare workers, seniors, and people in need.

Starting with organizations like Breakfast Club of Canada, AdvantAGE, CBI Health, BC Women’s and Children’s Hospitals, and Montreal’s Children’s Hospital, it’s our small way of helping during this challenging time.

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