L.A. Matheson students raise $7,000 during Sikh Heritage Month and Vaisakhi to support Guru Nanak Diversity Village

PROGRESSIVE Intercultural Community Services (PICS) Society says it is proud of youth at L.A Matheson Secondary School in Surrey who have decided to dedicate the next four years for fundraising towards Guru Nanak Diversity Village (GNDV).

L.A. Matheson students and teachers chose to actively fundraise during April to celebrate Vaisakhi and Sikh Heritage Month, raising $7,000 in just three weeks. This is just the beginning and the efforts are going to continue over the next four years to raise more funds. Inspired by the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s principle of “Seva – Selfless Service”, the youth took the initiative to contribute their efforts in a meaningful manner and also involved their families and friends to support GNDV.

Peter Johnston, Principal at L.A. Matheson, said, “I am so impressed with the extraordinary efforts put forward by our Mustangs in fundraising. Our students are hard working and have build capacity in connecting with the community to make a difference. They were able to raise 10 times more than their original goal of 700 and this speaks to their dedication and commitment to the cause”
COVID-19 pandemic has taught the importance of quality publicly-funded care for our seniors. PICS Society currently delivers an Adult Day program, Senior Independent and Assisted Living Facility programs. This culturally-sensitive long-term care facility is a step towards that direction and will bridge the gap between existing culturally-sensitive programs by providing long-term care services to our seniors. Construction for the facility, to be located in Surrey, is to start in late 2022 and it will be operational with seniors residing by 2024.
“On behalf of PICS Society, I want to thank and commend the participating students and teachers of L.A. Matheson for choosing to fundraise for this important community project for our seniors,” said Satbir Cheema, President and CEO of PICS. “It is very heartening to see our youth taking this initiative and in turn raising the bar manifold for the rest of us. Now, I am very confident that we will definitely exceed our target of fundraising $5 million for the GNDV project.”
GNDV is a $58.3 million provincially funded project, with $5 million to be raised through community contributions. This 125-bed, three-storey long-term senior care home is a project for the community by the community.

“We hope the initiative taken by L.A Matheson students and teachers, will inspire others in the community to initiate fundraising activities towards Guru Nanak Diversity Village,” said Ankita Grewal, Fundraising Officer for Guru Nanak Diversity Village. “I encourage other local schools and organizations to connect with us and share their ideas.”
Through community’s positive and generous support, over $1 million has already been raised for the facility. If anyone would like to collaborate or donate to Guru Nanak Diversity Village, they may contact or send in their donations directly to PICS Society. Tax receipts will be issued for all eligible donations.

Gurpreet Kaur Bains, teacher and Languages Department Head (LAM), says: “Nothing gives me more pleasure than watching our youth contributing to their communities. With COVID realities, we have seen so many issues around senior healthcare and inequities. A culturally sensitive healthcare is the need of the hour and I am so happy that Matheson chose to help fundraise for Guru Nanak Diversity Village. No one has to let go of their language, heritage, faith and culture in their golden years while accessing senior care. Real academic excellence is only experienced in schools when our students become contributing citizens in their communities. I am so proud of our Mustangs.”

Baldeep Kaur Sahota, Grade 10 LAM student, says: “My grandma has always told me to help out our community in any way possible. After watching the video Mrs. Bains made I came to Mrs. Bains class and she told me more about the cause. That’s when I knew this was something I wanted to be a part of. I have very close relationship with my grandparents, they are like another set of parents to me. So, when I heard we are helping the elders of our community I was so grateful to help. I am so grateful that I get to help out a great cause for the next 4 years and can’t wait for what’s planned. Thank you to Mrs. Bains and Ankita Grewal for making this happen and letting youth take initiative and help out with an amazing cause.”

Amanpreet Kaur, Grade 10 LAM student, says: “After I heard the news that we were going to do this project and donating to the Guru Nanak Diversity Village I immediately knew I wanted to participate, because since little I’ve always been close with my grandparents and elders in the house and I enjoyed spending time listening to their stories and now having the opportunity to do something that can help them in the future, was something I didn’t want to miss on. Also, the name the senior village got “Guru Nanak” just makes it special and important. I was very enthusiastic when I had the chance to talk about this experience with the community and my family, I was glad because everyone was so supportive. In a short period of time we reached high goals for a very good cause and I hope in the next four years this project will go on and actually make a difference.”

Gurkirt Kaur Manhas, Grade 11 LAM student, says: “I’m so lucky that I received this amazing opportunity to be a part of this heartfelt cause. This initiative of doing something for our seniors has allowed me to become a part of a beautiful journey. I am so appreciative that I was able to give back to our elders and really do something that would leave a positive impact in their lives. I have always had a strong belief in helping others and I am so happy I was able to make a small step with helping out. It’s been a very exciting journey seeing students come together to help our community out. I hope to help fundraise for this program for the next four years it continues, and hopefully we can receive many more donations. I am very thankful to Mrs. Bains and Ankita Grewal for organizing such a great program that allows our youth to connect with seniors and learn from them. Overall, I am very grateful to have received the chance to contribute in this thoughtful cause.”