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Where it all began, British Columbia, Canada.
In 2007, as a patrol officer with his respective law enforcement agency, Kal came across many young people falling victim to drug abuse and gang violence. It was during that time he came across a young boy in the late hours on the streets of Downtown Eastside getting his drugs ready for consumption. Kal had seen enough, had made enough arrests, and had made up his mind to no longer be a part of the problem, rather be a part of the solution. He felt the need to do more. He made up his mind that night to not make any arrests. As he approached the young boy, the boy threw everything to the side and started to walk away. Kal asked him to stop once, and then twice. The boy turned around and extended his wrists forward – ‘arrest me if you want, otherwise I figure I am free to go’ – were the words of this hardened twelve year old. After Kal made repeated efforts to know more about why this boy was strolling through the most violent streets at an early hour of the morning. The boy finally broke and asked Kal where he would be if his dad was lying drunk on the sofa, not knowing or caring where his kids may be, his mom having left him at a time when he needed her the most, and an older brother doing time for his crimes after having been raised in a house that does not identify as home. ‘Where would you be?’ Those words fostered the epiphany for Kal. Wearing his uniform symbolized his absolute devotion and discipline to serving the community. The tenth Sikh Guru declared that it was imperative to be the voice for those that have been silenced, so , “that righteousness may flourish, that good may live, and tyrants be torn out by their root” On account of these ideological underpinnings, Kal was thus far proud of his heritage, which had also now become a part of his uniform. Unconditional service of the others was a principle he wished to preach, and that night changed him for the better. He approached his inspector for some nominal funding, successfully securing five hundred dollars. With that money, he went on his day off, with some other officers, to rid the Strathcona field of the needles and condoms that plagued the field which should otherwise be filled with children and families building safer communities together. Over 100 kids came on that day and played the sport of soccer, giving the same officers hugs that would otherwise seem intimidating while they tried to police and keep the peace in the streets of DTES. What is one day of soccer going to do? How much of a difference can this one event make? Questions like these arose but didn’t affect Kal the slightest bit. He continued this initiative, and year after year, the tournament grew. With the support of the department, and community stakeholders, Kal brought the same principle to BC Place Stadium, now having over 1000 kids and volunteers participate in the program. Then came 2015, when he decided to formally create KidsPlay Foundation – a platform that would allow any and all youth to participate in positive programming, regardless of their background. The first rule was to ensure each child coming through these programs would not have to spend a single cent. Now came critics wondering why not charge a dollar or two per program to cover some of the costs. ‘A dollar will become two, and then three, and before you know it, these financial barriers will prevent the kids that need us the most from coming to our programs.’ KidsPlay Foundation is now an organization that has served over 70,000 youth through various programs over the years. Some run solely by the organization and others in partnership with community organizations. Kal, being a big believer in not working in silos and knowing no one person or organization has all the solutions, is open to working with all community stakeholders to prevent another child from becoming a statistic and build a safer world for generations to come. Kal has served as CEO of our organization in a volunteer capacity since the inception. It all started with the BC Chapter and now KidsPlay Foundation operates in BC, AB, ON, and internationally in Punjab, India and Colombia.
Amit Punni, currently volunteering with Kidsplay since 2015, He has graduated from North Delta Secondary in 2019 and is now studying Criminology at Douglas College, headed into BC Corrections. He has put countless hours of hard work with Kidsplay, doing the best he can to serve and give back to the community. He has dedicated his free time to helping Kidsplay reach their goals. Without the leadership, mentorship, and guidance from founder of Kidsplay foundation Kal Dosanjh, it wouldn’t be possible for Amit to reach his goals. It has made a huge positive impact on Amit’s life and has made him who he is today.
Amit has used Kal’s teachings and has applied them to an after school program where he mentored underprivileged children and showed them we are here for them. Amit has seen many children headed towards a very unsuccessful future and wants to turn that around and show them there are better ways to make it better in life. Amit has worked alongside other volunteers to organize sporting events representing Kidsplay foundation. Amit wants to be a symbol of hope and guidance some day just like Kal.
Maheep Nagra is a senior volunteer with KidsPlay foundation. He was born and raised up in Surrey. He has finished his Diploma in criminology from Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and is pursuing on to attain his degree. Maheep has been volunteering since 2018 and has been a vital part ever since. He realized the importance of mentoring and educating youth because they are the next generation.
Maheep noticed there was a lack of mentorship given to children, and was fast to act, he then became the leader of a middle school mentorship program in Langley, BC of 25 kids. His goal was to teach good values and ensure the kids had someone to look upto. Maheep has run numerous events, varying from sports to organizing big scale forums. Maheep sees the importance of being a role model within the community.
He truly believes getting involved within the community, will bring positive change. He gets very passionate seeing youth change for the better. Maheep, has intentions of becoming a police officer one day and making a difference within the youth and community shows the desire to make change for the better.
Manney is a senior volunteer with Kids Play, he joined our team in 2019. He joined because he wanted to help kids stay on the right path of life instead of being caught up with drugs and gangs. Manney is attending the University of the Fraser Valley to complete his Criminal Justice Diploma. He joined Kids Play because he saw the amount of violence that was continuing in his own community in Abbotsford.
He saw too many young kids getting into the gang lifestyle because they did not have proper guidance. Manney’s first event with Kids Play was “Labelled: Caught in the Crossfire” in Abbotsford. He saw the impact this event had on the community and he realized how Kids Play was helping initiate change. It was from there on that Manney became heavily involved. He has helped with numerous events throughout his time with Kids Play. Manney believes change starts from somewhere and Kids Play is that change.
Gagan Bhullar is currently a Kwantlen Polytechnic University student. He has been with Kidsplay for almost three years, and his favorite event was the two-week summer camp held for kids during the pandemic. It encouraged them to get out and socialize with others. He is proud to be a part of Kidsplay to present such activities to the youth. Rather than being trapped at home all day, many children attended our Surrey and Abbotsford camps.
Another thing he likes about kidsplay is organizing food drives, toy drives, and always helping anyone in need. He now works at the BC immigration holding center, soon to pursue a career in law enforcement. Kidsplay has helped him grow as a person and taught him to be grateful for what he has and to always give back. Gagan is also captain of the Kidsplay Bhangra team.
Jasraj Toor has been volunteering with KidsPlay Foundation since 2015, and has helped organize mentorship programs in Surrey along with being a part of sports tournaments and educational forums.
Jasmyne Bhatti is currently in her last year of highschool and will soon be attending BCIT for architecture. She has been volunteering with KidsPlay foundation since 2017. The first event she attended was the baseball tournament and has been providing an excellent service to her community since then. She is very passionate about nature and has led tree planting events alongside other volunteers. This event helped her create connections within her community and strengthen her leadership skills.
One of her favourite initiatives was the summer camp in 2020 during the global pandemic. She was able to connect with the youth in her community and provide a safe and powerful outlet for them to participate in. As much as she has taught the youth of the summer camp she learned just as much from them. Jasmyne is very thankful and blessed for all the opportunities Kids Play Foundation has given her.
Hanna Dhillon is currently enrolled at the University of the Fraser Valley studying Kinesiology. Hanna has been a volunteer with the Kids Play Youth Foundation since 2017 working alongside many others to give back to the community through a variety of different types of events. One of the first events she attended was the first annual Youth Kabaddi World Cup Tournament. Being an athlete who participates in combat sports, she was interested in participating in this tournament and many others held by Kids Play.
This event helped her meet many amazing people on the Kids Play team and in her community. The open and welcoming atmosphere of Kids Play Foundation drew her to attend more events. Without attending this event she believes she would not have received the opportunities that came with being apart of KidsPlay, being able to engage and give back to her community.
Vivek Dullat is currently in his last year of high school at Tamanawis Secondary and will be attending Kwantlen polytechnic university for business. Vivek was born in Calgary and partially grew up there before moving to Surrey in his adolescence. One of the first events Vivek attended was the baseball tournament in 2017. He has been a member of Kidsplay for 4 years and has his fondest memory at the organization at the 2020 summer camp. It was one of his best memories because he got to bring joy to children in his community during a tough time.
He has grown massively as a person throughout the years and has developed stronger leadership and communication skills. Along with other volunteers, he has put together an environmental chapter in kidsplay foundation and plans to grow it. Vivek is thankful for the opportunity Kidsplay foundation has given him and is excited for what’s in store for the future.
Amandeep Gill has been a volunteer with the KidsPlay Foundation since 2017. While volunteering with KidsPlay, Amandeep has gotten the chance to work with many great individuals that also strive to give back to the community. Influential mentors like Kal Dosanjh have helped Amandeep push himself to greater heights. One of his most memorable times being a volunteer with KidsPlay came from helping in the 2020 summer camps.
Many children were not involved in activities for quite some time due to COVID-19 and the KidsPlay camps were many children’s first exposure to such activities in a long time. Helping with the camps was not only fun for the children involved but was fun for him as well. Being able to work with youth and putting them on the right track is something Amandeep finds important and satisfying. This is because he believes that the youth hold the key to bettering the future and we must help forge them into the best versions of themselves in order to assure a bright future.
Mia Skoone Gill
Mia Gill leads within Abbotsford, and is a high school student attending Abbotsford Senior Secondary School. Pursuing a future in public affairs, Mia serves as an active liaise between youth and government. Her zeal for civic engagement led her to Kids Play Foundation where she’s been volunteering since the summer of 2020. Understanding the turbulence many kids face amid organized crime, Mia hopes to encourage and facilitate a better environment for youth as a volunteer. Enthusiastic for what lies ahead, Mia cannot wait to keep innovating and supporting her community.
Akanksha Gopal is currently enrolled at Panorama Ridge Secondary School studying in grade 12, planning to further pursue her studies in Business. Akanksha has been a part of Kids Plays Foundation since 2018. She is very passionate about the work that she puts in for Kids Play. One of her favourite events is the Summer Camp 2020. Through this camp she got to interact with many other youth and helped her build her own confidence and leadership skills. Akanksha is very grateful for the opportunities Kids Play Foundation has provided.
Gavan Grewal joined KidsPlay Foundation 2017 after a basketball event took place at his highschool. After learning about their goals and how they operate, Gavan decided to become a member of the Kidsplay Team and soon took on the role of becoming a senior volunteer with the Organization. Gavan started his journey with Kidsplay by becoming a mentor in one of the mentorship programs at one of the elementary schools in Surrey. It was during this program where he learned the importance of providing guidance and mentorship to younger kids in order for them to be successful in the future.
Throughout his time with Kidsplay, Gavan has assisted in multiple sports events, educational forms, and clothing/food drives. In the future, Gavan wishes to pursue a career in which he can help people on a daily basis and implement Kidsplay’s goals and ideologies. Hence why Gavan is working towards a career in Law Enforcement as a police officer. Currently, he is in his third year at the Justice Institute of British Columbia in the Bachelor’s of Law Enforcement Studies (BLES) program. Additionally, he has completed two police academies with the RCMP and New Westminster Police and continues to work towards completing his degree while serving his community and leading our youth in the right direction.
Amisha Johal is a student at the University of British Columbia pursuing her studies in Environmental Engineering. Amisha began volunteering for KidsPlay during the summer of 2020. Even though her time at the organization has been short, she has learnt many important skills and stories. She has been an asset to the organization with her communication skills, she has been able to build a strong rapport with the kids who attended the summer camps. Amisha says she feels truly blessed to be able to work with the organization and she looks forward to more summer camps!
Gurjivan Johal is a student at Douglas College enrolled in the Nursing program. She began volunteering for KidsPlay during the summer of 2020. The summer camp was her most memorable KidsPlay event, even though it was held during the pandemic. Gurjivan has been blessed with great opportunities to give back to her community through this organization.
Manbir is a single mother of two children. She went through a difficult marriage with constant mental and other types of abuse. She had the opportunity of either going through this hell of a life or break the societal norms and stigmas of separation. Making the choice of leaving that life she went through numerous struggles. We say we live in a modern and new world but we yet have to make this society a safer place for many women like Manbir.
The constant labelling and negative comments only make a dreadful situation like this worse for the person. She refused to go through that torture and put her children through it and made the choice many fear. It was not easy for her then and it hasn’t been easy still but she is determined to make healthier choices for a healthier life. At the end of her dreadful divorce, Manbir was left with close to nothing financially. Everything had to be started from ground up again. She went to school and became a nurse.
She is also a make-up artist. To this day, she receives minimal support for her children from their father and raises them with two jobs. She resorted to fitness to handle the constant pressures and expectations. She used that as a positive outlet to relieve her stress. She is on her way to competing in fitness competitions. Manbir joined our team to not only create a safe space for young women and men, but to also instill in her children a passion that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. She is a believer in Karma and believes she has been able to achieve strength through all the good she has done for those around her.
Charan Lamba is a senior volunteer with Kidsplay Foundation. Charan was born and raised in India before he immigrated to Canada in 2014. He finished Law Enforcement Studies Diploma from the Justice Institute of British Columbia. Intending to become a Police officer one day, Charan has been serving the community as a Special Municipal Constable with The Vancouver Police Department since 2017. Charan has been an integral part of the Kidsplay Foundation since 2018, realizing the need for good leadership for our youth.
Charan believes that whenever a child interacts in the community, he/she tries to find his/her identity (where he/she belongs). So, it’s crucial for us as a community to introduce them to a good group and give them a positive identity. With the passion to serve the community and mentor the youth, Charan started his Kids Play journey by running a mentorship program at one of the elementary schools in Surrey.
Charan was responsible for teaching ethical and social values to a class of 30 kids while keeping the learning environment fun and interactive. Throughout his time in Kidsplay, Charan has coordinated various sporting events for kids and young adults. At these sporting events, Charan takes time to interact with the youth, bring them under his supervision, and mentor them to be a better version of themselves.
Charan truly believes that the strength to bring change in society lies in positive leadership. As a leader, Charan aspires to lead others in the same direction and introduce more positive leaders in the community to have a bigger impact.
Balnoor Nahal is currently attending the University of the Fraser Valley and is working on obtaining her degree in Criminology. One of her goals in life is to help those in need. Balnoor started volunteering with KidsPlay in the summer of 2020 to take the right steps in achieving this goal. It is important to her to give back to her community in any way she can. Balnoor is grateful to be a part of the KidsPlay team and is excited to partake in future events.
Jass Rai is a student at the University of Fraser Valley studying criminology. Jass was born and raised in Abbotsford, BC and has always wanted to help people in need which is why he strives to accomplish this goal through policing. Jass’s first time in KidsPlay was volunteering at Dasmesh Punjabi School where he help set up events with the youth and have them engage in meaningful conversations and activities. Kids Play’s diverse group of members and strong passionate team has allowed Jass to further grow mentally and have a sense of belonging.
Jass has also participated in many other events since then and also is an active volunteer at the Abbotsford Police Department. Jass currently works as security at the Abbotsford Regional Hospital and gives his all to help anyone in need. Jass aspires to one day become an outstanding police officer that can become an ideal role model and protect anyone in need.
Sukhman Sidhu is currently enrolled in Bachelor’s of Criminology at Simon Fraser University. Sukhman has been volunteering with Kidsplay since the beginning of 2019 and has been working to distance our youth from the lifestyle of drugs, gangs, and violence. To protect our youth, Sukhman displayed his efforts by running a successful mentorship program at Dasmesh Punjabi School.
Along with offering the youth a brighter future, Sukhman believes that his most memorable experience is helping the unfortunate and putting a smile on their faces through their darkest times. Constantly involved in the community, Sukhman has chosen to pursue a career in law enforcement. In addition, Sukhman has completed the Junior Police Academy with the city of Abbotsford, and he continuously devotes his time and energy to help strengthen our community.
Jessica Sherman, a dedicated member of Kids Play Foundation. She is the living embodiment of turning pain into power. Following the loss of her 18-year-old brother to the youth gang violence epidemic in the City of Abbotsford, this grief struck young woman underwent a crucial metamorphosis. Torn by grief and a sense of helplessness at the exponential increase of the youth drug and gang violence in the Lower Mainland, lead her to life dedicated to public service. In October 2018, at her brother’s 4-year death anniversary, Jessica spearheaded and launched the Kids Play Youth Mentorship Program at a school in Mission, BC.
Through this free program, Jessica is educating, freeing, and giving an equal platform and empowering the next generation of girls and boys. Additionally, since 2015, Jessica has been sponsoring an annual memorial scholarship through the Abbotsford Community Foundation. This scholarship is awarded to a graduating student of W.J. Mouat Secondary School who demonstrates integrity and good sportsmanship. Jessica is an epitome of hope for a better world for the rising leaders. After the loss of her brother, she has overcome adversity and has used her personal journey in a way to inspire and motivate others to be positive despite challenges and setbacks.
Eknoor Kaur Toor
Eknoor Kaur Toor is a currently a grade 12 student at École Panorama Ridge Secondary with an ambition to pursue a career in medicine. She has been volunteering with Kids Play since 2018 and is now a senior volunteer and youth event coordinator at Kids Play. Through her time with Kids Play, Eknoor has learned to hone her leadership skills and gotten several opportunities to get involved in the community!
One of the opportunities has been to co-coordinate the Environmental Portfolio of Kids Play. In the portfolio, she organized tree planting events and worked with several external organizations. Her fondest memory in this journey has been seeing youth and adults alike come together at our first tree planting event and work towards a common goal. Over time, Eknoor fostered a passion for environmentalism driving her to further delve into research on how we can better engage the community in consciously help the environment.
Eknoor strongly believes that every tree planted, every game played, and every program ran becomes a moment treasured by someone in the community. No matter the hiccups along the way, everything Kids Play does serves the bigger picture and Eknoor is grateful to be a part of the action!
Kinney Toor currently works as a guard for the RCMP. He studied Criminology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University as his aspiration is to become a police officer in the near future. Kinney has been a part of KidsPlay since 2016. He always had a passion for helping others out and with the help of Kal Dosanjh and the KidsPlay family he couldn’t have done it.
With countless amounts of events being done, his most memorable moment with KidsPlay is during the soccer tournament at BC Place. Seeing hundreds of children come out to compete inside of a stadium where professionals play was amazing. His goal is to be a great mentor to the people around him and continue to strive to help our community become better.
Prabhvir is an undergraduate student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. He is working towards a career in Law Enforcement. Prabhvir is a well involved member in the community and has been tirelessly working to build the community in the past few years. He aims to help the youth from falling victim to the harsh lifestyle of drug use and gangs. Prabhvir has been able to pursue this goal through Kids Play Youth Foundation, a registered nonprofit working towards keeping youth away from a lifestyle of drugs, gangs and violence.
He joined Kids Play when he witnessed the negative impact Drug use and gang violence has had on his community. After realizing the damaging effects such a lifestyle holds, he has chosen to combat this by aiming to help vulnerable youth in avoiding this reoccurring issue our society faces. Prabhvir has developed himself into a role model that children look up to. He has grown from a general volunteer to now an Executive of Kids Play.
Through Kids Play he has learned valuable skills and moral lessons which have shown him the harsh realities of the world but has also shown him what needs to be done to effectively make a change in our community. He has held multiple events in our community ranging from Educational forums to sports events. Prabhvir is a strong believer in the ideologies Kids Play was formed on. He believes that to help our youth from falling victim to the wrong path, education and sports must be implemented.
Jas is a seasoned IT professional with years of experience in Enterprise Data & Analytics, Systems Design and Artificial Intelligence. Jas is a dedicated member of Kidsplay and believes in giving back to the community. Jas has been leading the organization’s Web Development and technological innovation efforts. In addition to their technical expertise, Jas is also a mentor for new immigrants and has received recognition from the IECBC for their efforts. Passionate about giving back and making a positive impact in the community, Jas is committed to helping youth learn, grow, and stay drug-free.