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At-risk youth in Surrey have two brand new programs from the City of Surrey to discourage criminal activity and keep youth positively engaged with their peers and community.
The city has received grants totalling more than $110,000 for its Blueprint Pathways pilot initiative and Outdoor Connection program, both of which serve to prevent crime among youth. The programs will provide places for at-risk youth from the district to find meaningful connections with friends, mentors and people in their neighbourhoods.
"We are excited to collaborate with the city on both of these programs," said Safe Schools Manager Sarah McKay. "The programs will directly benefit our students by providing recreation space, fields for events, and quick and easy registration for kids to get involved in city activities. These programs will complement the WRAP program and ultimately help students engage with their community."
Starting in the 2021-22 school year, members of the WRAP team will work closely with a city outreach worker to provide resources to support Blueprint Pathways, which will include one-on-one mentorship, community resource referrals and transportation to support services for 30 at-risk youth aged 13 to 19. The outreach worker will support youth in areas of life outside of school.
The Outdoor Connection runs for 13 weeks during the summer, offering youth drop-in activities in Clayton Heights, Cloverdale, Fleetwood, Fraser Heights, Guildford, Newton and North Surrey. With a focus to serve more than 100 youth, the program will support a transition back to City of Surrey indoor recreation centres this fall.
The B.C. Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General provided nearly $73,000 in funding for Blueprint Pathways, through the Government of Canada's Gun and Gang Violence Action Fund, as well as almost $38,000 in a Civil Forfeiture Crime Prevention and Remediation Grant for the Outdoor Connection program.
Both programs will complement other youth crime prevention programming from the City of Surrey, including the Surrey Anti-Gang Family Empowerment (SAFE) Program and Peer Mentorship Program.
"There's definitely room to learn and grow as we keep building these programs, and hopefully it's a success and they can continue," said McKay.