THE City of Surrey on Saturday announced an increase in funding and expansion of the Yo Bro | Yo Girl Youth Initiative in Surrey elementary and secondary schools.
“The City of Surrey understands how 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,” said Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner. “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.”
The value of early intervention programs was made clear by a former member of the Yo Bro | Yo Girl program. 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. Ary 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 Ary. “I finally found out how I could surround myself with good influences and to move positively forward”
Partnerships are a big part of the Public Safety Strategy and under the expanded Yo Bro | Yo Girl program Ary will be leading the expansion into Surrey elementary schools as the Program Facilitator. Currently working out of the Newton Recreation Centre, Ary will be responsible for taking the program into a new era, reaching even more kids at an even earlier stage.
“Providing a positive outlet for kids is vital, no matter what their challenges might be,” said Laurae McNally, Surrey School District Trustee. “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”.
This 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 www.surrey.ca