Surrey expands youth programming in Clayton

The city says the ‘CHAT’ program is in response to the needs of kids in the fast-growing community

Clayton – The City of Surrey announced a new program Saturday that aims to give Clayton area youth a place to go after school and in the early evening.

The city says the program, CHAT (Clayton Heights Activity Team), is in response to the needs of kids in the fast-growing community. It was launched during a Public Safety Town Centre event at the Cloverdale Recreation Centre on Saturday.

“CHAT will connect and support young people, ages 13 to 18, by building their confidence, life skills, employability, health and sense of belonging,” according to a release.

The CHAT vision was developed through the “passionate perseverance and genuine care” of Jen Temple, Asset Manager for Hillcrest Village Shopping Centre.

The city says Temple was instrumental in the program’s creation, which is a unique partnership between the City’s Parks, Recreation and Culture department, Pacific Community Resources Society (PCRS) and the local business community.

“This new initiative is a way for the businesses in our area to give back to young people and reduce issues in the community,” said Temple. “We want to support our young people to give them a sense of belonging and purpose by building relationships and connections in their community. It takes a village.”

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner said the program “is an opportunity for us to collectively support our youth and help them make positive life choices.”

She said CHAT is a key initiative in the city’s Public Safety Strategy.

“Ensuring that youth who don’t typically participate in traditional programming have positive activities available to them during the critical afterschool and evening hours is a priority for the City of Surrey,” Hepner added.

Saturday’s Public Safety Town Centre event was the latest in a series of community outreach sessions in Surrey. Upcoming events will be held in the Newton area.

More details at surrey.ca/culture-recreation/22547.aspx.

amy.reid@surreynowleader.com