On May 7, 2015 we launched our series of Community Conversations in Surrey. Designed to get communities talking and learning from each other, the Community Conversations identify local people, resources and connections for young people from care.
Held at the Surrey Public Library, the event drew close to 50 participants from the surrounding area who want to help their communities show up for youth as they age out of care, and as young adults. We are especially grateful for the support of our amazing co-hosts – BC’s Representative for Children and Youth, Federation of BC Youth in Care Networks, McCreary Centre Society, FirstCall BC and the Public Guardian and Trustee.
Testing an asset mapping tool
We were able to identify strengths, and tease out some of the gaps that exist for young people in the area. In the South Fraser communities of Surrey, Langley and Delta, more than 1,000 children and youth currently live in care. This year, 76 will “age-out” at the age of 19. Would it be that hard to make sure young people are connected to people and resources that could help make their path to adulthood a little better?
Key question: Identifying demographic gaps in specific urban centres is important. Surrey lacks space and services for 19-24 year-old youth. How can we fix this?
To figure out what the gaps are to making this happen, we tested a community asset mapping tool that we’ve developed to help shape conversations around tangible resources and outcomes.
Learning from experience
We heard lots about experiences of home, school, work, well-being, culture and healthy relationships with others and their communities.
The energy and ideas from Surrey were fantastic, and provide lots of optimism for the rest of the series.
We’ll be pulling together findings from the whole series into a broader report, but the Surrey conversation gave us an important taste of the themes and issues that are important to consider.