THE South Asian Community Resource Office (SACRO) was awarded the 2019 Province of BC Community Safety and Crime Prevention Award for Youth Leadership last week.
SACRO is a program of Archway Community Services (formerly known as Abbotsford Community Service) that began in 2006. It provides culturally relevant crime prevention programs for South Asian youth who are at-risk of or already involved in criminal and gang activity and their families. Together with the Archway Youth Resource Centre, it provides the In It Together gang-prevention program.
SACRO has provided services for over 350 South Asian youth and their families in the last decade. The program includes one-to-one support, parent education sessions, recreation groups, mentoring, counselling and skill development.
In her acceptance speech, Manpreet Sarai, a case manager and family educator at SACRO said, “Our work can be challenging but we celebrate every small step a youth takes to turn their life around. Whether it’s graduating, finding legitimate employment or reconnecting with their family, it’s a step in the right direction.”
In 2018, federal funding for the In It Together program was discontinued leading to a reduced capacity to work with gang-involved youth. New provincial funding and support from United Way allowed them to continue providing limited services to the most at-risk youth.
SACRO currently has a waitlist of 26 youth and will have their funding levels reduced again next year.
“It means a lot to have our work recognized by the province and we hope to be able to continue working to keep our youth and community safe,” said Sarai.
The Ministry of Public Safety hosts the annual awards to recognize individuals and organizations that have made outstanding contributions to crime prevention and community safety. The ceremony is held during Crime Prevention Week and took place in downtown Vancouver.
The Youth Leadership Award was established in memory of Constable Wael T. Audi, a young and enthusiastic member of the Squamish RCMP, who recognized the potential in youth and encouraged their participation in the community safety and crime prevention.