Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Morris speaks with students at Princess Margaret Secondary

Getting back on track

Surrey Wrap program helps kids break free from a negative lifestyle and work towards a positive future

With the recent rash of shootings in Surrey, the provincial government is attempting to stop kids from getting involved in gang activity. And according to solicitor general Mike Morris, the Surrey Wraparound (Wrap) program based in Surrey schools is getting recognition across the country for successfully helping kids break free from the gang lifestyle.

On Thursday morning, surrounded by numerous students at Princess Margaret Secondary who are currently involved in the program, Morris credited the Wrap program with allowing teens to see that there’s an alternative way of enjoying life and contributing to a healthy lifestyle.

“The Surrey Wrap program is something I fully endorse,” said Morris. “I think their budget is somewhere in the $1.5 million range, we just contributed another $300,000 to the program and the wait list is indicative of how successful this program is. We’re looking at another funding mechanism to alleviate that wait list.”

The program is a partnership between the Surrey School District and Surrey RCMP and is designed to intervene with young people who are making poor choices and are involved in criminality or heading toward youth gangs, said Rob Rai, Director of School and Community Connections with the district.

Students can exhibit tell-tale signs such as declining grades, having been caught with drugs or physical confrontations at school, according to Rai. Students who have a history with the RCMP are often referred to the program through a school principal or a teacher.

“We assess a young persons life, we see what they’re doing as a person, who they’re hanging out with, what they’re doing in school, what they’re family is like and you look for strengths and weaknesses,” said Rai.

“If they have this incredible talent for dance or wrestling but can’t overcome the financial barriers, we’ll pay for that. If they’re struggling in school we’ll make sure they get additional support. We’ll set them up in supported programs over the summer so that they flourish.”

Currently the program has room for 31 students but according to Rai, he and his team could be working with as many as 300 kids. But for him, the key is prevention and to get the students ‘upstream’ before they have a criminal record or are involved in gang activity.

‘Regardless of how much we put in to the system, we need to focus on prevention as well, and catch some of these kids upstream,” he said. “And were doing that now, we call it pre-wrap.”

If a problem classroom or student is identified, his team will attempt to reach out and offer positive support.

According to Rai, once the students enter the program, negative police contact drops by 60-70 per cent.

Buven Brar, 18, joined the wrap program in April 2015 following an ‘incident’ and feels the program has helped him focus on what is important and look to the future.

While in the program, he was offered a tutor, someone who took him to the gym and provided constant guidance and structure.

“Since joining the wrap program I have graduated from high school and I’m looking at going to trades school. I seriously don’t think I could have done it without them,” he said “It changed my life in a big way. I want to become an electrician and have my own house and my own car.”

Another graduate of the program, Ashley, 17, who preferred not to give her last name, was expelled from school and staying home when she got involved in Wrap.

“In the program, I learned that I can’t give up and I have to keep going and making mistakes is a part of life,” she said. Because of the program, she enrolled at another Surrey high school and graduated on time, something she is extremely grateful for. She credits the one-on-one help and the mentorship for finishing high school and now has enrolled in a massage therapy program.

Ashley said she would recommend the opportunity for anyone going down the wrong road.

“I would say it’s really a good opportunity. You learn so much, you meet different people and do different things.

“It’s a really good (program) for anyone to try.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Sven Spichiger, Washington State Department of Agriculture managing entomologist, displays a canister of Asian giant hornets vacuumed from a nest in a tree behind him Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. Scientists in Washington state discovered the first nest earlier in the week of so-called murder hornets in the United States and worked to wipe it out Saturday morning to protect native honeybees. Workers with the state Agriculture Department spent weeks searching, trapping and using dental floss to tie tracking devices to Asian giant hornets, which can deliver painful stings to people and spit venom but are the biggest threat to honeybees that farmers depend on to pollinate crops. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Crews vacuum ‘murder hornets’ out of Washington nest, first-ever in U.S.

The nest found in the city of Blaine near the Canadian border is about the size of a basketball

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Staff members at Surrey Pretrial test positive for COVID-19

Ministry of Public Safety says employees tested positive between Oct. 18 and 23

Upgrades underway at the Sunnyside Reservoir, adjacent to Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest, raised concerns among some residents Tuesday (Oct. 20), however, stewards of the park say everything went off without a hitch. (Tracy Holmes photo)
‘No issue’ with South Surrey reservoir drainage, despite trail user concerns: urban forest steward

Forest visitor taken aback by ‘unprecedented flooding’ of trails

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Hydro map showing where power has been knocked out is dotted with over a dozen outages. (BC Hydro map screenshot)
Thousands without power in Lower Mainland on election day

One outage in Langley and Surrey is affecting over 4,000 customers

file
One dead after fiery crash near Agassiz

Agassiz RCMP report a 56-year-old man died Friday night

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

Most Read