New eight weekly youth program sessions at two Surrey gurdwaras

Youth Strengths Project team with gurdwara youth program leaders.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Gira Bhatt

TWO Gurdwaras in Surrey will be offering a new program for youth. Gurdwara Dukh Nivaran Sahib (152nd Street and 68th Avenue) and Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara (120th Street and 70th Avenue) are participating in a collaborative project to develop and implement a systematic and interactive series of eight sessions, 1.5 hours each for youth. These will be scheduled over the weekends.

Funded by the Civil Forfeiture Award from the BC Ministry of Public Safety, the project aims to empower youth and parents by focusing on their strengths, their positive traits, and their leadership skills. Each session has been developed using research on positive youth development and ensuring that youth take the lead and keep the sessions lively, engaging, and informative. The goal is to use research knowledge about healthy youth development and translate it into very structured youth program sessions.

Each participating youth will receive a $5 gift card at the end of each session. As well, upon completion

The topics for the eight sessions at the gurdwaras will align well with the preaching of the Gurus; for example, social responsibility, gratitude, Sikh identity, female role models, family relations, core values of Sikhism, mental and physical strength.  Each session will be led by youth and will involve group activities and take-away lessons. Also, there will be a systematic assessment of each session to record what worked well and what may be changed in future programs.

The project goal is “prevention”. Nurturing our children with care and love is critical, but keeping them away from negative influences is just as critical. While as parents and family members we do our best, yet a worry often surfaces: What if our child makes wrong choices and ends up in wrong places in life? Is there a way to ensure that our children are protected against negative influences? Have we prepared them for the challenges they will face as they explore the world outside home?

While abundant resources are being poured towards efforts targeting kids who have already made a wrong choice and gotten into trouble at school or with police or with other people around, a relatively neglected domain is prevention. What can we do so kids don’t get into serious trouble in the first place? Often it seems to be too late and too costly trying to get the “at-risk” or crime-involved youth to make a turnaround. Although it is very important that we spend our resources to support and help these youth, an equal focus on supporting and encouraging kids to stay in the positive lanes of life is just as important.

Within this context a very valuable partnership has been forged between the selected gurdwaras, the City of Surrey, KPU, BC’s anti-gang police (CFSEU-BC), the South Asian Community Coalition Against Youth Violence (SACCAYV) and MOSAIC. These partners came together to support the ongoing efforts of community organizations which work with youth and parents.

With funding from the BC Ministry of Public Safety, it has been possible to host training sessions for program managers including youth leaders. The training was targeted at developing structured activity sessions with timelines and it was led by researchers from KPU and facilitated by RCMP Inspector Baltej Dhillon and MOSAIC’s Communications Director Ninu Kang.

THESE one-hour Sunday youth programs at Gurdwara Dukh Nivaran Sahib will begin on Sunday, October 13. Registration is free, but required. In order to do so, please contact either the gurdwara directly or youth coordinators Ajeet Gill and Jagnoor Mann at: or

SIMILAR weekend (Saturdays) youth programs will begin at Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara on January 11, 2020. For information, please contact Bhupinder Kaur Biln or  youth leaders Ravleen Kaur Brar and  Karambir Singh Dhaunsi. 

For general project information, please contact Inspector Baltej Dhillon at