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Surrey non-profit offers 18 free programs for children and youth

Feb. 22 job fair will give youth an opportunity to meet employers
Since its inception in 1987, PICS organization has committed to enriching the lives of youth and children through an array of free programs. Photo courtesy of PICS.

Since its inception in 1987, Surrey’s Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society (PICS) has enriched the lives of children and youth through an array of free programs. With support from the government, private sponsors and a dedicated team, the non-profit organization has become a cornerstone for youth empowerment and community development in the Lower Mainland.

“Our aim is to give young people the best possible start in life, equipping them with the skills and confidence they need to succeed,” says Phalak Betab, the Marketing, Communications and Fundraising Officer at PICS Director.

PICS places a strong emphasis on addressing the challenges faced by immigrant youth and their families. Photo courtesy of PICS.

One of PICS’ standout initiatives is the HYPE program, sponsored by RBC, catering to youth aged 13 to 29. It offers workshops on interview skills and job search strategies, providing a supportive environment at their head office lounge where mentors guide participants. “The beauty of our programs is that they’re entirely free, removing financial barriers,” Betab adds.

PICS also facilitates volunteer opportunities for youth through the IYMC program, backed by Canadian government funding. This program allows youth to receive micro-grants of up to $3,000 for community projects. “We had a volunteer create baskets for homeless people, which exemplifies how we empower youth to make a real impact,” Betab says.

To help youth discover their career goals, the organization offers diverse programs focused on self-exploration and skill development. This includes the SANE program, promoting physical and mental fitness, and the Intercultural program, offering a nine-week course in digital skills for full-time job preparation.

PICS facilitates volunteer opportunities for youth through the IYMC program. Photo courtesy of PICS.

Additionally, the organization places a strong emphasis on addressing challenges faced by immigrant youth and their families. The Settlement & Integration Program, for example, assists immigrants in adapting to life in Canada, providing essential skills and knowledge about Canadian society and workplace culture.

A national project further extends their reach, providing material in English and math, all available online with compensation for exams. “We’ve seen incredible success stories, including several youths we helped secure full-time jobs,” Betab says.

With plans to continue expanding and evolving their offerings, this non-profit organization remains dedicated to empowering youth. Through a blend of skill-building, mentorship and community engagement, PICS is preparing young people for the workforce and shaping them into confident, capable and community-oriented individuals.

As they look forward to hosting their coming job fair at the Croation cultural centre in Vancouver on Feb.22, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.. the organization reaffirms its commitment to being a pillar of support and opportunity for the youth of today and the leaders of tomorrow.

To learn more about all youth and children support programs, visit their website here. Call at 604-596-7722 or reach out via email at