Empower The Future connects high schools students with positive mentors to build their knowledge on
“Life After High School”
A team of Surrey post-secondary students are helping students from inner-city schools build their knowledge about challenges they might face after high school. The group, Empower the Future (ETF) was founded by Shawna Narayan, a fourth year science student at UBC, specializing in physics. She also serves as ETF’s Executive Director.[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image admin_label=”Image” src=”https://omgsurrey604.s3.us-west-2.amazonaws.com/surrey604/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Shawna-Narayan.jpg” show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” sticky=”off” align=”left” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” force_fullwidth=”off” animation=”left” /][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”justified” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]
Shawna Narayan, Founder of Empower the Future
Launched in the spring of 2016, ETF aims to connect high school students with those in post-secondary in a partnership to encourage personal, academic and professional growth.
Narayan started the group because of her experiences in high school, encountering several challenges like searching for financial aid on her own and applying for post-secondary school.
She said it’s because of the support of her mentors that she was able to receive scholarships and awards, and she wants to be able to offer that same support to other students, by giving them the resources to educate themselves about life after high school and make informed decisions.
Narayan thought that they best way to do that would be to have high school students hear experiences from Surrey youth who have “been there” and “done that.”[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image admin_label=”Image” src=”https://omgsurrey604.s3.us-west-2.amazonaws.com/surrey604/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/PM-Workshop-Group.jpg” show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” sticky=”off” align=”center” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” force_fullwidth=”off” animation=”off” /][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”justified” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]
“I have always looked for opportunities myself but I know that there are students that don’t know where to start and may give up when they can’t accomplish something.
I want to help them with their goals,” she said. “It is difficult to navigate through post-secondary life by yourself and we want to help prepare inner-city students who are worried about moving forward with higher education and full-time careers.”
“Its important to recognize that the youth today will be future innovators and leaders. We need to support them. That’s why I started this organization.” In 2016, the group started off with the Life After High School workshop to uncover the challenges students are facing, and providing them with helpful information.
After a successful launch at Frank Hurt Secondary School, the Surrey School District was interested in holding the workshop in several schools in Surrey. ETF started 2017 with workshops at Princess Margaret Secondary School and L.A.
Matheson Secondary School, where they discussed five common problems that high school students face today: dealing with financial stress; finding credible information about post-secondary education; preparing to enter the workforce; searching for quality volunteer opportunities; and caring for yourself.
“This year we decided to go more in-depth on mental health because it’s a challenge many young adults are facing,” Said Anmol Sooch – ETF’s Events Director, “We want to be able to show kids that this isn’t anything to be embarrassed about of run away from. There are many resources to help you.”[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_2″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”justified” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]
“We also added more brainstorming activities. We have this one activity where students are given a scenario about a student who is entering post-secondary school and living away from home – they guess how much the four years of the degree will cost the student,” said Narayan, “Some students wrote $100,000, some wrote $25,000. It gave them a good idea of the costs associated with post-secondary school and really sparked conversation about how to find financial aid which is also something we talk about.”
“It’s really interesting to see how attentive the students are. They view the mentors as peers, not as teachers which allows us to make a different impact on them,” she said. “The information that we learned was very useful. I personally am very terrified of going to post-secondary and the mentors from Empower The Future, made it seem less scary,” said a student at Princess Margaret Secondary School.
Taylor Morton is a Facilitator with the Surrey School District that helps ETF with the workshops. She said, “I reflected a lot on my own post-secondary experience and how much I wish that I had someone like Shawna in my corner. I did not have the chance to speak with people close to my age to really go into depth on what post-secondary is like. Financially, post-secondary isn’t always a reality for our students but Shawna shows them exactly how to make it happen.”
Narayan alongside six others make up the ETF executive team. Anmol Sooch is the Events Director of ETF. She is a fourth year science student at UBC specializing in biology. She also volunteers with the Down Syndrome Research Foundation.
Joshua Zivny is the Finance and Administration Director of ETF. He is a recent graduate of JIBC’s firefighting technologies program. He is also a Canadian Cancer Society volunteer. Ayman Azhar is the Engagement Director of ETF. She is a fourth year science student at UBC specializing in biology. She is also a Research Assistant at Chan-Yeung Center for Occupational and Environmental Respiratory Disease.
Hakeem Hussein is the Marketing and Communications Director of ETF. He is a third year UBC science student. He is also an Executive of the Gage Residence Association and the Coloured Connected at UBC. Marissa Brooks is the Graphics and Design Director of ETF. She is in the child and youth care program at Douglas College. She also volunteered for the Boys and Girls Club of South Coast BC.[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image admin_label=”Image” src=”https://omgsurrey604.s3.us-west-2.amazonaws.com/surrey604/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Students-working-on-budgeting-sheet.jpg” show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” sticky=”off” align=”center” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” force_fullwidth=”off” animation=”off” /][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”justified” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]
Elias Panah is the Corporate Relations Director of ETF. He is a third year SFU student majoring in biomedical physiology. He is also a part of the Science Peer Mentorship program at SFU. Empower The Future has been granted over $3000 from UBC’s Community Engaged Learning, the Vancouver Foundation, and UBC’s Science Undergraduate Society. Kwantlen Polytechnic University also donated over 200 tote bags for ETF’s resources packages that are given to high school students. Their partnership with the Surrey School District allows them to connect with more students, specifically students in inner-city schools. This year, 180 students will be attending their workshops.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]
Surrey’s Sullivan Heights Secondary opens new expansion for incoming students
Students at Sullivan Heights Secondary will be learning in 28 new classrooms this school year. Construction on a four-storey, $34.3-million expansion has finished and is ready to welcome students for the fall semester.
“Our board is so excited to welcome Sullivan Heights students into this new addition,” said Laurie Larsen, chair of the Surrey Board of Education, in a press release. “Students and families in the community have been waiting patiently for this additional space, which will allow staff and students to move out of a portable and into a bright, open, and engaging learning space.”
The expansion includes a new outdoor basketball court alongside a gym and a connector to the existing building, so there is a shared main entry and admin workplace. There are also additions to align with 21st-century learning objectives like breakout spaces, education preparation areas, lifestyle labs, a science super lab, large multi-purpose spaces that can be used by the community after hours, and a group of computer labs organized to maximize collaboration and innovation.
This new space brings the total number of classrooms at Sullivan up to 68, the most of any school in the district, and will provide seating for up to 1,700 students.
The expansion has been needed for a while—the school had a capacity of 1,000 students but enrolled 1,646 students in October 2021.
The high school was using 14 portables to accommodate all the students, but those will now be removed.
This expansion will also allow Sullivan to move away from the staggered scheduling system it was forced to adopt to accommodate the growing number of students.
In the same press release, principal David Baldasso said, “This 700-seat addition means that we are no longer on an extended day, students and staff will more easily be able to collaborate, and extracurricular activities are no longer impacted by the length of the day. These new modern learning spaces such as the tech lab, maker spaces and foods labs will also allow us to offer more choice and opportunities to students for years to come.”
Surrey Libraries Offers Access to O’Reilly eBooks and Videos
Surrey Libraries is excited to announce the addition of O’Reilly eBooks to its list of online resources. This platform offers over 35,000 eBooks and 30,000 hours of video courses on technology, business, design, science, engineering, travel, hobbies, health and more, all free with a Surrey Libraries card!
O’Reilly has books and videos for makers, gamers and tinkerers. There are more than 100 hobbyist titles including a STEAM Lab for Kids and The Lego Build-It Book, Volumes 1 & 2. More than 900 books from the “For Dummies” series are included, as well as over 150 titles on job-seeking and career development.
The resource also has technology learning paths like SQL Fundamentals – SQL for Data Analysis and Database Design, case studies like “Pinterest’s Journey to the Cloud,” and countless hours of video instruction on topics like Microsoft Azure Fundamentals, Linux Fundamentals, or Amazon Web Services.
We’re excited to welcome you back to our branches! Check our website for information on hours and available services and what we’re doing to keep everyone safe.
Canada’s Top Digital Marketing School Partners with MNBC to Launch Scholarships
Métis Nation BC and Jelly Academy collaborated in order to provide growth within New Collar Employment for Indigenous people and together provided 20 scholarships to Jelly Academy’s digital marketing course. Thanks to this partnership, there will be more Indigenous people with the skills and know-how when it comes to online and digital marketing.
The Indigenous skills training that have previously been available have typically focused on great blue collar jobs such as construction and trades, but this collaboration provides a chance to diversify the available training for Indigenous people with a new focus within varying industries.
Increased demand for digital marketing
Online marketing has had a huge rise in demand especially since COVID-19 and the increased job opportunities opening up in Canada. Indeed reports that by February 2021, jobs in media, marketing, and communications jobs had clicks higher than the economy average per posting, which is why having the necessary skills and training will give job seekers an advantage. Additionally, Indeed reported 28.9% job growth for digital advertising during a forecast period of 2019-2024.
Jelly Academy has been operating for 5 years with over 600 grads with a successful hiring rate. Over 82% of grads who come with an existing employment get a raise or promotion within 6 months of graduating the course and over 94% of grads who are students or without employment get a job within 4 months of graduation. This is due to in-depth training within the course as well as the additional skill-enhancing certifications provided through Jelly Academy.
The program focuses on equipping students with the certificates that hiring managers from agencies and individual brands are looking for. Jelly Academy grads will leave the course with evergreen Hootsuite, Google, SEMRush and Facebook certifications that each have transferable skills.
While these additional certifications can be taken online through providers such as Udemy; data shows about 96% of Udemy students don’t finish a course whereas an official curriculum from Jelly Academy will aid students in completing relevant courses.
By providing these new scholarships for a course that has a successful hiring rate, it allows for further career opportunities for Indigenous members of Métis Nation BC.
Jelly Academy was created by industry expert, Darian Kovacs, in order to have a course that provided the foundation in digital marketing. The course is taught by other industry professionals who provide clear understanding in online marketing topics such as social media, PR, SEO, Google Ads, Google Analytics, and Facebook Ads. Learn more about Jelly Academy here.
Surrey Students Awarded Scholarships, New Scholarship Created By Cloverdale Rodeo Youth Initiative Foundation.
CLOVERDALE, BC: In June 2020, while the world came to a halt due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the Cloverdale Rodeo & Country Fair postponed, one of the things that didn’t stop was the Cloverdale Rodeo Youth Initiative Foundation annual scholarship. Seven grade 12 students from across the city of Surrey were awarded $1000.00 scholarships for post-secondary education by the Cloverdale Rodeo Youth Initiative Foundation.
“As a Board we collectively agreed to proceed with awarding scholarships during the pandemic, whether there was a rodeo or not, because people are in a time of financial need more than ever, and this is not a time to hold back, but to give and lend a helping hand”, says Foundation Chair Nicole Reader.”
The recipients, all of whom were part of the graduating class of 2020, will use their $1000.00 scholarships for a variety of post secondary institutions across British Columbia.
The 2020 Cloverdale Rodeo Youth Foundation recipients:
- Vincent Labador – Johnston Heights Secondary
- Nisha Niijar – Fleetwood Park Secondary
- Aashna Thapar – North Surrey Secondary
- Natasha Kalinic – Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary
- Alexander Thornton – Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary
- Taya Suttill – Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary
- Skye Graham – Clayton Heights Secondary
“Each of these graduates are incredibly deserving of these awards,” says Foundation Chair Nicole Reader. “The entire community should be proud of these young people.”
The foundation adjusted its scholarship criteria, so applicants did not require having previous volunteer experience at the Cloverdale Rodeo in order to be eligible, as long as they had volunteer experience with another organization.
The Cloverdale Rodeo Youth Initiative Foundation will also be awarding scholarships this year under its new criteria. The application deadline for the 2021 scholarships is Friday, May 21st, 2021.
Scholarship applications can be found here.
Not only has the Cloverdale Rodeo Youth Initiative Foundation continued to support the youth community throughout the pandemic, but the organization has also been provided the opportunity to establish an additional scholarship through its organization called The Isabella Olson Scholarship Award “Rising Above”.
The “Rising Above” scholarship was established in loving memory of a Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary student, Isabella Olson, on behalf of her loving family. Isabella was an extraordinary and inspirational young individual who strived to ‘Rise Above’ the various obstacles she faced while always remaining determined to succeed.
To honour Isabella’s legacy a $2,000.00 scholarship has been created to recognize an inspiring Lord Tweedsmuir grade 12 student who is “Rising Above” obstacles, whether personal, mental health, bullying, or family related complications.
A student who has the determination to continue doing well in school, who may participate in school activities community services and/or may have work experience.
“Isabella’s inspiring spirit was a source of strength to all who knew her, and it is our esteemed honour to be able to present this award and assisting inspiring students in achieving their dreams, says Foundation Chair Reader.”
The application deadline for the 2021 Isabella Olson Scholarship Award “Rising Above” is Friday, May 21st, 2021.
Scholarship application can be found here.
Fossil Discovery Deepens Snakefly Mystery
Fossil discoveries often help answer long-standing questions about how our modern world came to be. However, sometimes they only deepen the mystery—as a recent discovery of four new species of ancient insects in British Columbia and Washington state is proving.
The fossil species, recently discovered by paleontologists Bruce Archibald of Simon Fraser University and Vladimir Makarkin of the Russian Academy of Sciences, are from a group of insects known as snakeflies, now shown to have lived in the region some 50 million years ago.
The findings, published in Zootaxa, raise more questions about the evolutionary history of the distinctly elongated insects and why they live where they do today.
Snakeflies are slender, predatory insects that are native to the Northern Hemisphere and noticeably absent from tropical regions. Scientists have traditionally believed that they require cold winters to trigger development into adults, restricting them almost exclusively to regions that experience winter frost days or colder. However, the fossil sites where the ancient species were found experienced a climate that doesn’t fit with this explanation.
“The average yearly climate was moderate like Vancouver or Seattle today, but importantly, with very mild winters of few or no frost days,” says Archibald. “We can see this by the presence of frost intolerant plants like palms living in these forests along with more northerly plants like spruce.”
The fossil sites where the ancient species were discovered span 1,000 kilometers of an ancient upland from Driftwood Canyon in northwest B.C. to the McAbee fossil site in southern B.C., and all the way to the city of Republic in northern Washington.
According to Archibald, the paleontologists found species of two families of snakeflies in these fossil sites, both of which had previously been thought to require cold winters to survive. Each family appears to have independently adapted to cold winters after these fossil species lived.
“Now we know that earlier in their evolutionary history, snakeflies were living in climates with very mild winters and so the question becomes why didn’t they keep their ability to live in such regions? Why aren’t snakeflies found in the tropics today?”
Pervious fossil insect discoveries in these sites have shown connections with Europe, Pacific coastal Russia, and even Australia.
Archibald emphasizes that understanding how life adapts to climate by looking deep into the past helps explain why species are distributed across the globe today, and can perhaps help foresee how further change in climate may affect that pattern.
“Such discoveries are coming out of these fossil sites all the time,” says Archibald. “They’re an important part of our heritage.”
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