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World Mental Health Day – Portraits

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My Name Is Desiré Amouzou, and I am a Producer and Photojournalist for Surrey604.com. 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.

Tomorrow!!!

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 headsupguys.org 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 clickcritic247@gmail.com

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.

instagram.com/clickcritic

Desiré Amouzou is a Photojournalist and Documentary Filmmaker. For over a decade Desiré worked as a Corporate Investigator in the private sector, specializing in Forensic Interviewing and Organized Crime Investigations. That was his bread and butter, and it still holds a special places in his heart. Never reluctant to jump back into the mix when needed. His first love however has always been Documentary Filmmaking and Investigative Journalisms. He has been mentored over the years, firstly in college by his Professor Deborah Angrave, TV and Documentary Producer and Educator, in learning story telling and narrative and developing a love of cinematography. In the field under the wing of Commercial Producer Dru Adams, And finally through his Interviewing mentors in the private sector as well as federal law enforcement whom shall remain anonymous due to the nature of their work. Growing up as part of a mixed race family, from an immigrant African father from New York and a British Okanagan Girl, he was made to feel any that he belonged, wherever he was. During his time in Africa and In Ontario and B.C., his unbiased upbringing has made him ever more appreciative of diversity in culture and keeps him remaining inquisitive, wanting to know more and ask questions. His parents taught him, that if you didn’t have anything good to say, don’t say it...unless you have to speak up. And though it’s been years since they’ve both passed away, Desiré still speaks up and ask questions, the hard ones and listens, and captures the film and photos that speak for those who can’t or won’t speak.

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Happy Singh Eats & Tandoori Flame, Partner to Offer FREE Meals to Frontline Workers and Those in Need

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After spending just over a week and a half making deliveries of pre-packaged meals to frontline workers at Delta, Surrey Memorial and Vancouver General Hospitals, the team at Happy Singh Eats (with support from Tandoori Flame) realized that the community’s need is much greater than they realized. “We started at Delta Hospital, then to Surrey Memorial. After that the Surrey ER and Imaging Centre, VGH ER and the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre all reached out looking for similar assistance.

We realized that the need stretched much greater than what we originally thought,” shared Shraey Gulati, Managing Director, Tandoori Flame Restaurants. “We have been blessed to be able to help others, and that itself is another blessing” As a team they have happily obliged to fulfill these requests and continue to do deliveries of hundreds of meals daily to all of these locations for the on-staff frontline workers, however they wanted to consider how they could do more. From that evolved Happy Singh’s Seva Kitchen.

As a subsidiary of Tandoori Flame Restaurants and given that they are not officially open yet, Happy Singh Eats is working with the kitchen team over at Tandoori Flame Delta, just across the road from them, to execute this initiative. Seva is a sanskrit word that means selfless service and is a prominent value within South Asian culture. Keeping that in mind, the answer seemed obvious. Gulati went on to explain that the sentiment of Seva is particularly important for their family ethos. “Our father always taught us to be the giver, whenever and wherever possible.”

Gulati’s father, Galendra Gulati recently returned to Canada from India and his first question when he heard about our hospital deliveries while in self-quarantine was, ‘What about those who are not at the hospital? What about those who have lost their jobs? What are we doing for them?’ He in turn got these thoughts from his father (Shraey’s grandfather), who used to say ‘You have what you have to pass it forward. Help those in need, spread love and kindness. We are JUST a medium.’”

Starting today, Happy Singh’s Seva Kitchen will operate from the take-out window located at Tandoori Flame’s Delta Location (11970 88 Ave, Delta, BC V4C 3C8). Any frontline workers can receive a free meal from their take-out window. They request that if you are in plain clothes that you provide an ID and if you are in uniform, then that’s easy.

They are also offering meals to those who simply cannot afford it right now. COVID19 is impacting our community in so many ways including lost jobs, reduced income, the inability to get groceries and more. If you are in need, we want to help. Free meals will be provided daily between 3pm and 7pm time on a first come, first served basis until meals run out. They do however hope to have enough to go through the entire day.

If however, you are unable to visit within that time frame, you are welcome to come anytime within the take-our hours of noon – 9pm. “We are starting with 3-7pm as we simply do not know what the demand will be like, but we won’t refuse anyone, as long as we have the resources to serve them,” shared Gulati.

When asked how long this program will run, Gulati said, “We don’t know the answer to that yet. We are going to continue for as long as we can and intend to keep our patrons updated via our website.” He also shared that those interested in supporting the initiative can donate meals to the program through their online takeout form at bit.ly/HappySinghDonate.

ABOUT HAPPY SINGH EATS | Happy Singh Eats, the newest restaurant endeavour by Tandoori Flame Restaurants, is slated to open in Summer 2020 with 160 seats inside and 72 outside on a covered patio. Akin to a South Asian version of fast casual dining, it is modelled after popular roadside cafés found all over India providing ready to eat snacks. The new cafe style restaurant will offer dine-in and take-out options with live cooking and over 10 food stations where guests can see popular street style snacks being prepared right in front of them. The menu will include items such as: kathi rolls, a chaat station, a Jr. Happy Singh box meal for kids; thali style meals, Paranthas, a samosa station, a dosa station, traditional curries, pizzas, sandwiches, and more. www.happysingheats.com

ABOUT TANDOORI FLAME | Established in 2009, Tandoori Flame is the largest grand Indian buffet and restaurant in North America. With up to 150 food options and live interactive food stations, the restaurant group now has three locations in Canada – Mississauga, Brampton (Toronto) and Surrey/Delta (British Columbia). www.tandooriflame.com

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Local One Billion Rising Events Create 1300 Care Packages for Women and Children

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To mark 2020’s, Worldwide One Billion Rising* campaign, the biggest mass action to end violence against women, social justice and faith based organizations came together to hold events in Vancouver and Surrey in February 2020. The main focus was to bring people together to create over 1300 care packages filled with personal hygiene necessities to help women and children across the Lower Mainland. Both gatherings brought an intersection of people and faiths interested in giving back and delving in deeper conversations to enrich their communities.

Elder Gertie Pierre, from the Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society welcomed event participants with opening remarks and offered the sacred tradition of cedar brushing, that helped clear negative energy.

Both events had brief interactive question rounds where partnering organizations were highlighted, but also participants were encouraged to exchange ideas with others. At each event, Chas Coultee from the Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society educated participants about Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls. Both the cities of Vancouver and Surrey honoured the events with the reading of official proclamations declaring February 1-7th UN World International Harmony Week, and the assembly of more than 1,300 hygiene packages.

*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. For more information on Background on One Billion Rising:

https://www.onebillionrising.org/about/campaign/one-billion-rising/

Care packages were created to support the following organizations:

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

This year’s community partners included, Centre For Israel And Jewish Affairs, Global Girl Power, Global Peace Alliance, Guru Nanak Foundation of Canada, Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen, Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver, Kaur Project, Mustang Justice, Sri Guru Singh Sabha Surrey, Surrey Interfaith Council , The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Vancouver Interfaith Network, World Sikh Organization of Canada, Worldwide Shift Disturbers.

www.1brlm.com

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Over $1.35 Million Raised at Surrey Hospital Foundation Gala

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Surrey Hospital Foundation’s 5th Annual Gala Raises Over $1.35 Million in Support of Surgery at Surrey Memorial Hospital

On Saturday, February 22, 2020, 680 local business, community, medical, and philanthropic leaders attended the 5th Annual Celebration of Care Gala at Aria Banquet Centre in Surrey. $1,352,000 was raised for innovative equipment purchases for the region’s largest and busiest surgical centre at Surrey Memorial Hospital.

Surrey Hospital Foundation hosted the sold-out event, themed after a glamorous, Hollywood-style after party. The gala began with an exciting red carpet experience where guests were fawned over by actors portraying Hollywood paparazzi. Emcees Keri Adams and Jason Pires of CTV led guests through the evening featuring dinner by Peake of Catering, and impressive entertainment with Vancouver’s pre-eminent DJs, DJ Chloe and DJ Pri. The live auction, led by beloved showman, Fred Lee, was a highlight of the event. After dinner, guests indulged in a dynamic dance party with Vancouver’s legendary Dr. Strangelove Band, with special guest Keri Adams.

“Our fifth annual gala was a great success,” says Jane Adams, President & CEO of Surrey Hospital Foundation. “In the past five years, our gala guests have raised over $10 million for Surrey Memorial Hospital. This year’s gala was about excellence. It was about supporting the excellent surgeons we have in Surrey and attracting more. In the race for exceptional medical talent, Surrey must win. Our residents deserve the very best.”

This year’s Gala Committee was led by Gala Committee Chair, Sonia Virk of Virk Viyas and Associate Lawyers. It was generously supported by over 40 sponsors, including Berezan Group and EllisDon who returned as Presenting Sponsors. Starline Windows, Qualico, and Blackwood Partners returned as the Dinner, Reception and Entertainment Sponsors. Surrey Honda generously donated a hybrid vehicle to the event raffle, and RBC enlisted the help of their Youth Ambassadors to help welcome guests to the event.

Westland Insurance joined the gala as Valet Sponsor, Newway and RBI were Diamond Sponsors this year, and Leith Wheeler returned as Silent Auction Sponsor. Heritage Office Furnishings and MNP joined the gala as Décor Sponsor and Wine Sponsor, respectively. Marathon Homes returned as Photo Booth Sponsor. Gold Sponsors included: BMO, Coast Capital Savings, Deloitte, Envision Financial, Guildford Town Centre, Hayer Builders Group, Murray Latta, Nanak Foods, Second Cup (Surrey Memorial), TD, Virk Viyas and Associate Lawyers.

Silver Sponsors included: Basran Wealth Management, Century Group, K-Bro Linens, KDS Construction, Manning Elliott, PearTree, Pitt Meadows Plumbing and Searay Foods. In-kind sponsors included 99 Nursery & Florist, Print Advantage, Aria Banquet & Convention Centre, BC Event Management, Bell Media, Black Press Media, Darpan Magazine, Drishti Magazine, Post Media, RedFM.

For more information, please visit surreyhospitalfoundation.com/gala.

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Moving Forward Family Services and SEVA Thrift Store Society Announce New Program

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Moving Forward Family Services and SEVA Thrift Store Society are proud to announce their partnership in Interview Ready, Dress to Profession. Eligible Moving Forward Family Services clients could receive the opportunity to participate in the program, where they will receive professional attire and interview support from SEVA Thrift Store Society.

Entering or returning to the workforce can be a difficult transition, and finding suitable attire can be challenging. Both agencies hope that Interview Ready, Dress to Profession will address gaps in current employment services and reduce some of the barriers associated with the job seeking process.

Moving Forward Family Services will screen eligible clients; individuals in lower socio-economic situations who are unemployed or face precarious employment, are actively seeking employment, and have scheduled interviews. SEVA Thrift Store Society will provide each candidate with two complete head-to-toe outfits as well as consultation to become interview ready. Dependent on availability, clients may receive “confidence coaching” from volunteer HR specialists.

“SEVA and Moving Forward Family Services are grassroots agencies dedicated to supporting our diverse communities. I look forward to working with SEVA in providing our mutual clients much needed supports that may significantly improve their current life circumstances.” – Gary Thandi, Executive Director of Moving Forward Family Services

 “Seva Thrift is extremely excited to launch this initiative with Moving Forward Family Services. We recognize that unstable employment and low wages negatively impact our community because our community is only as strong as its most vulnerable citizens.” – Kiran Malli, President of SEVA Thrift Store Society.

SEVA Thrift Store Society’s values are service, sustainability, empowerment, equity, volunteerism, vitality of community, altruism, and appreciation.  Moving Forward Family Services works with the community, for the community, ever striving to provide integrated services for clients.

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

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“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:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cnoyorg
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cnoyorg
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cnoyorg/

Sources Community Resources Society:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SourcesCommunityResourceCentres/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sourcesbc
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sourcesbc/?fbclid=IwAR3AcRsFnhra1k9YAHj0cS-E21MzROofappmADkqGuzFCf-JcnSzXBbuUWw

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