Warning signs of gang involvement are the focus of a series of Empower Surrey Parent Workshops starting April 19 in Surrey, in both English and Punjabi.
For parents and caregivers of children and youth, the free, two-hour evening workshops (6-8 p.m.) are planned this spring at nine elementary and secondary schools in the city.
The sessions will give participants tools to “recognize and respond to warning signs for gang involvement as well as build protective factors that minimize their young person’s susceptibility for recruitment,” according to an event advisory from the City of Surrey.
Gangs target youth as young as 10 years old from a variety of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, according to the city’s Community Safety section. Strategies to start the conversation early can be key to strengthening family, school and community connection.
“We received very positive feedback from participants of the November workshops,” said Brian Aasebo, the city’s Community Safety Manager.
Topics of the spring workshops will include how to recognize and address risk factors, how to recognize youth slang that may indicate potential for risk and the difficulties Surrey youth face at school and in the community.
Parents will also learn how to build protective factors, how to develop and maintain strong connections with children and youth and where to get help if a young person is at risk of or actively involved in negative behaviours.
Facilitators include professionals from the City’s Community Safety Section, Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia (CFSEU-BC) and SFU clinical counsellors from the Surrey Anti-Gang Family Empowerment (SAFE) program.
Workshop dates and locations are posted to empowersurrey.ca/parentworkshops, starting Tuesday, April 19 at Tamanawis Secondary with a session in Punjabi.
The other workshops are scheduled for:
• Wednesday, April 27 at Sunrise Ridge Elementary
• Thursday, May 5 at A.H.P. Matthew Elementary
• Tuesday, May 10 at Ecole Salish Secondary
• Tuesday, May 17 at Georges Vanier Elementary
• Wednesday, May 25 at Beaver Creek Elementary (Punjabi session)
• Tuesday, May 31 at L.A. Matheson Secondary
• Wednesday, June 1 at Pacific Heights Elementary
• Tuesday, June 7 at Bonaccord Elementary