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Drug & Gang Education
KidsPlay Foundation provides free educational drug abuse and gang prevention programs.
Gang culture can quickly become a lifestyle for the people involved or the youth being pulled in. Although movies may portray gangs to be cool reality says otherwise as gang affiliation can lead to serious consequences for all. Youth gang affiliation has grown to be a province-wide concern which is why the Kids Play Foundation has taken the initiative to help reduce gang rates.
“I wish organizations like KidsPlay were around when I was a young child, I would have had some guidance and probably wouldn’t have made the same mistakes I did.”
Studies suggest that most of the youth who join gangs have already been involved in crime, violence and illegal drug use and others follow the trend. But through tactics of mentoring, volunteer opportunities, job opportunities, resume building, recreational activities, and educational seminars, KidsPlay can actively educate the youth of the dangers that come with gang affiliation.
It is Kidsplay’s ultimate goal to build a safe community free of gang violence for the many generations to come. Hand in hand we can combat the growing youth gang concern.
These presentations can be scheduled for small groups to large audiences, please contact us for more information.
These presentations are run by those with lived experiences involved in drug trade and gang violence.
Growing up on the streets taught him to do whatever it takes to survive. Shane went back and forth between social services and his grandmother. He became involved in the drug and gang scene, however Shane knew, deep inside, the criminal lifestyle wasn’t for him. He wanted to change. Gradually, over time, he expressed his interest to leave and pursue something legitimate, and become a productive citizen of society. While Kal patrolled the streets of Downtown East Side, as a member with his respective department, he had many encounters with Shane. They gradually built a positive rapport with one another. When Shane decided to leave this life of crime behind, he contacted Kal.
Shane’s struggles did not end there. His ex gave birth to their daughter. The ex passed away shortly thereafter, leaving Shane the option of becoming a single dad and managing work, or leaving his daughter in the hands of social services. Shane made the difficult decision to step up as a single parent, and keep custody of his daughter.
Shane has returned to his roots and now identifies with his culture. He also identifies with other youth, who have gone through similar upbringing to his. He said, “I want to leave a legacy my daughter would be proud of”. He is one of the newest members of the KidsPlay Foundation’s Drug and Gang Education Team. Shane now gives back to the community and comes out to present at Drug and Gang Education presentations to guide youth onto a better path.
Stan grew up in a dysfunctional home. There was no one to guide him to achieve a higher education, to encourage him to participate in sports, or push him to pursue his dreams and ambitions. No child is born a criminal. Stan got involved with the wrong crowd, learning that violence was a powerful tool to gain attention, power and money. He found his identity in a gang, which he co-founded in the Downtown Eastside, known as the Red Alert. While working as a beat patrol officer, Stan and Kal would be constantly getting into arguments and fights, as Stan was running a drug operation and the police were trying to shut him down.
It took the particular circumstances of almost losing his son to the drug trade, that made Stan step back, reassess his life, and decide it was time for change. KidsPlay Foundation is proud to have Stan as a presenter on our Drug and Gang Education Team. He is an invaluable member of our KidsPlay family; as are all other volunteers, presenters, sponsors and community partners.
Shenan Charania immigrated to this country when he was just a youth. His life prior to that point had been an ideal one and full of promises. He participated in sports, was a standout student, and was embraced by a loving family. He believed in working hard to achieve goals. All that changed upon arriving here. The life he knew back home, and the life he came to learn here were polar opposites.
He came into a school, where neither education nor sports or community service were looked upon with regard. Students around him cared more about partying, drinking, smoking drugs, rumours, gossip and drama. He stood out, and therefore was bullied. This led him down a dark path of being eventually expelled from school for depraved behaviour; involving fighting,
smoking drugs, selling drugs, and eventually turning into a full time lifestyle of drugs, gangs and crime. It was not until his house was shot up late into the game, and his parents were home; that he realized he needed to change.
Shenan went into legitimate business, and made lots of money, but it did not give him internal satisfaction. He transitioned away from his pursuit of money, and began to focus on helping others by becoming a life coach. Today, Shenan is a successful life coach, and a key member of the KidsPlay Foundation Drug and Gang Education Team.
Sumit Ahuja is a practicing lawyer in British Columbia and a recovering alcoholic and addict. After his addiction almost took his life in March of 2017, Sumit attended a residential treatment center and achieved sobriety. Sumit’s personal mission to assist anyone dealing with addiction to find help and understanding and break the culture of secrecy that surrounds addiction. He is a member of the KidsPlay Education team and speaks with the team at schools and community centres.
He is a member of the KidsPlay Education team and speaks with the team at schools and community centres. Sumit is the founder of live Big Society – an organization established to help those who cannot afford the means to access recovery centres. The road to recovery was challenging for many individuals Sumit came across during his days in
recovery, and that is what compelled him to take action and become a beacon of hope for others.
Deep is an entrepreneur with a mission to change the world. In his own words, “I’m just a regular guy born and raised in Surrey”. Deep has encountered lots of success in his career and most importantly (in his own words) just as many failures. In 2015, while running a trucking company, Deep faced the downturn of the oil crisis in Alberta. Soon after, his business followed the same fate and the doors were closed. As a result of this ordeal, Deep turned to alcohol and drugs as a coping mechanism.
As someone that prided myself by his material possessions, he found himself lost and with no purpose. After struggling with depression and anxiety, no license, vehicle, or money; Deep finally learned that happiness is free. They say this is the greatest lesson life can teach one. During the early stages of COVID, with only $1,500 to his name, he quit his full time job and started a new business.
He found his new purpose: to change the world. He began creating jobs in his community and is in the process of starting his own Foundation. As Deep says, “My new found success could not have been possible without Kal and Kidsplay”. For Deep, Kidsplay filled a void in an otherwise empty life and provided him with a greater purpose going forward.
Vijay’s educational background consists of a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of the Fraser Valley, a Bachelor of Education and Special Education Diploma from the University of British Columbia, and a master’s in counselling psychology from Adler University.
He is currently a school counsellor with the Burnaby School District. Prior to this, he was a teacher, a school administrator and a counsellor based in the community. Vijay has also worked with several counselling providers in the community and government funded projects.
In addition to his employment, Vijay spends his time writing, enjoying fitness, and basically learning about anything and everything. He has also been a featured writer at The Good Men Project and has his own writing blog, which promotes writing-based and art-based therapy.
Vijay’s view of therapy is to treat clients with empathy and dignity and help them shift toward lasting health. It is a journey based on care, trust, and self-discovery.
Tj Sheehan grew up In a small town close to Vancouver. He was kicked out of high school and at a young age moved to Alberta to work on the oil rigs. Soon he was involved with gangs and drugs, battling addiction and a brush with death. He was finally able to turn his life around and now speaks to youth groups and schools about his powerful experience and future hope! As the founder of Coastal Recovery Community and Pivot: Empowering Recovery Society, his mission is to help others overcome addiction. The vision is: Save a life. Save a family. Save a community.