Ary Azez tells the crowd how the YoBro program changed his life for the better. Azez will lead the expansion of the anti-gang program into Surrey’s elementary schools. (Photo submitted)

Anti-gang program expanding to Surrey elementary schools

Surrey expands early intervention support for youth through YoBro YoGirl program

SURREY – A program that aims to keep children out of the gang lifestyle will be expanding into Surrey’s elementary and secondary schools.

The City of Surrey, Surrey School District and YoBro YoGirl made the announcement Saturday, during a city-hosted Public Safety Town Centre event at South Surrey rec centre.

The YoBro YoGirl initiative helps “deliver education, early intervention and physical training” to kids.

The city says through the expansion of this existing partnership, more children will have access to recreation programs and education about the risks of drugs, gangs and other negative lifestyle choices.

A former member of the program, Ary Azez, shared how the initiative changed his life.

As a teenager in the 10th grade, Ary Azez saw many of his friends going down the path of drugs and gangs, which he knew he didn’t want any part of.

Azez went from being a participant in the program to becoming its current Program Facilitator. He is now in his second year of University studying engineering.

“When I got in involved in Yo Bro | Yo Girl it really struck a chord with me, and I saw how I could channel my energy into something more positive” said Azez. “I finally found out how I could surround myself with good influences and to move positively forward.”

Azez, who currently works out of the Newton rec centre, will be leading the expansion of the program into Surrey elementary schools. He will be responsible for the “new era” of the program, hoped to reach more kids at earlier stages in life.

Mayor Linda Hepner said programs like Yo Bro | Yo Girl “can be the catalyst for kids to find a whole new path and that is central to our new approach under the Public Safety Strategy” and that “early intervention and strong partnerships with the School District and support providers are cornerstones of our Strategy, that’s why we are committed to enhancing this worthwhile initiative.”

Surrey school trustee Laurae McNally said “providing a positive outlet for kids is vital, no matter what their challenges might be.

“We are delighted to support the Yo Bro | Yo Girl program under the City’s Public Safety Strategy as we see first-hand the need for these kinds of programs to help kids like Ary,” added McNally.

The announcement was held at the Public Safety Town Centre event at the South Surrey Recreation and Arts Centre. Upcoming events will be held in Cloverdale and Newton. For a full list of event locations and more details, residents can visit

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP issue arrest warrant for suspect in Sheraton hotel stabbing

Police say Malcolm Drydgen faces an aggravated assault charge, and it’s believed he’s in the Lower Mainland or Alberta

ELECTION QUESTIONS: Is Surrey safer than it was four years ago?

Who has the best plan to fight crime in Surrey? That’s for voters to decide on Oct.20

LETTER: We are looking to wrong source for public safety in Surrey

We really need to ask how we might defund police and properly fund community resources

Man wanted in connection with attack on taxi driver in Surrey

Assault happened Aug. 8 in the 13200-block of 105A Ave.

Cessford says Delta not ready for legal cannabis

Mayoral candidate and former police chief says public consultation is needed to make civic policies

VIDEO: Rare close encounter with whale pod spotted off B.C. waters

Pod of southern resident orca whales breach within arms length of whale watchers

Premier John Horgan ponders debate on voting system changes

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson wants one-on-one, no Green

Saganash drops F-bomb in Commons over federal approach to Trans Mountain

NDP’s reconciliation critic accused federal government of ‘wilfully’ violating constitutional duties

VIDEO: B.C. dairy farmer says Trump doesn’t understand the industry

‘They need supply management just as bad as we need to keep it’: sixth generation farmer Devan Toop

VIDEO: Death threat, racist comments spewed over empty seat on B.C. bus

Transit Police are investigating the incident, shared online by fellow passengers on Vancouver bus

Man faces 8 charges after Vancouver carjacking, pepper-spray attacks

Jesse William Swain has been charged with assault with a weapon, robbery and dangerous driving

Sister of plane crash victim that went missing in B.C. starting support network

Tammy Neron wants to help families who are searching for missing people

‘Hello, 911? There’s a horse in my living room’

Sproat Lake firefighters called to ‘rescue’ quarter-horse from Alberni Valley house

Assault charge withdrawn vs. ex-Jays pitcher Roberto Osuna

Former Toronto player agrees to peace bond

Most Read