Youth Taking Charge
Surrey, Vancouver, May 23, 2010
President, Punjabi Language Education Association
For the past several years, South Asian Community Coalition Against Youth Violence (SACCAYV) and its predecessor Sikh Societies of Lower Mainland have been working very hard in keeping our young people on the right track. During this time, SACCAYV has been instrumental in creating more awareness about the issues facing our youth. Also, it has been very successful in advocating for more resources and services in helping youth and parents. SACCAYV, in co-operation with the provincial government and various police agencies and other organizations has produced a very popular resource booklet. Understanding Youth and Gangs is an excellent resource for both youth and parents. Your readers can get a free copy of this booklet by phoning SACCAYV co-coordinator Rubina Mudhar at 604-254-9626.
A number of young people, under SACCAYVs auspices, have been undertaking a lot of worthwhile initiatives. These include addressing issues, which have a severe impact on them. These young people meet on a fairly regular basis to identify issues and develop action plans to seek solutions. For example, earlier in the New Year, the youth decided to watch and discuss Mani Amars documentary A Warriors Religion. The showing took place on February 9 at the Grand Taj Banquet Hall in Surrey. Close to 50 young people attended the screening. The screening was followed by very stimulating Question and Answer session. The youth felt a very close connection with Mani and his message.
These discussions led the youth to dedicate their next activity to parents. India Mahila Association (IMA) was planning their international womens day celebration in March. This offered our youth with an excellent opportunity to collaborate with IMA on issues such as the communication problems between youth and parents.
On March 5, the youth as well as their mentors and some members of IMA put on an impressive short skit dealing with communications, dating violence and related issues. More than 400 members of the audience very well received the skit.
In addition to youth/domestic violence in the community, alcoholism is another major issue in the South Asian community. It is a tragedy that so many innocent lives and families have to suffer due the use/abuse of alcohol in the community. Some time ago, Peace Arch Community Services took the commendable initiative of producing a video dealing with alcoholism in the South Asian community. It is called Kharab Daru (Bad Medicine). SACCAYV youth were very much interested in watching the video to-gather and discuss alcoholisms impact on the community. The showing took place on May 13 at North Delta Recreation Centre. The viewing was followed by a facilitated discussion relating to alcohol use/abuse. Not only that, the youth were keen to explore ways and means to support family and friends who have problems with alcohol. It was a very useful and beneficial exercise for all of the participants.
On behalf of SACCAYV, I would like to thank and congratulate these young people for getting involved in this process. By undertaking such bold and much needed initiatives they are setting an excellent example for others.
So far as the issues of gangs and youth violence are concerned, our community has come a long way during the past dew years. Though a lot has been accomplished yet there is a lot that still needs to be done. As community we must continue to work together in keeping our young people safe and productive. They are not only our greatest resource but also our future.
Chairperson, South Asian Community Coalition Against Youth Violence