Shawna Narayan is executive director of Empower The Future, a project that aims to connect high school students with post-secondary students “in a partnership that encourages personal, academic, and professional growth.” (Photo: empowerthefuture.wixsite.com)

UBC student’s work helps empower inner-city students in Surrey

Shawna Narayan welcomes recent $10,000 grant for work with Empower the Future group

Shawna Narayan says her work to help inner-city students prosper is gaining momentum.

Two years ago, the Frank Hurt Secondary grad launched Empower The Future, a non-profit that aims to help high school students find the resources needed for a smooth transition into higher studies.

“I recently won a $10,000 UBC grant to continue the much needed work that I am doing in Surrey,” Narayan, now a fourth-year student at UBC, told the Now-Leader.

Students at inner-city high schools experience a lack of support in the challenging transition to post-secondary studies, Narayan said, so her organization started a Life After High School Project, which includes workshops and mentorship activities.

The workshops cover subjects such as dealing with financial stress, learning about post-secondary education, entering the workforce and more.

“The workshop is filled with discussions such as question-and-answer periods and activities such as guessing the estimated cost for post-secondary school,” Narayan explained. “Due to high demand, we are expanding to additional Surrey schools, and schools in Burnaby and Vancouver after they expressed interest.”

• RELATED STORY: SASSY awards for seven Surrey teens/young adults, including Shawna Narayan, from 2017.

The project “really gained momentum last year with numerous partnerships with SFU, KPU, and Vancouver Foundation, Surrey Firefighters, and more,” Narayan added.

The workshops will be held from May to June and possibly in September, she said, “so people who are interested can definitely contact us through Facebook and email me (shawnanarayan@gmail.com) as well.”

A profile of Narayan can be found on UBC’s website, in a “People of UBC” feature.

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