Awareness and funds to build youth transitional housing in Surrey will be raised during a gala event on Friday night (Nov. 22).
Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association (FRAFCA) will host its fourth-annual Guiding Youth Home fundraiser at Aria Banquet Hall & Convention Centre.
The organization says many Surrey-youth youth struggle with the transition into adulthood on their own, and currently there are very few options for them to receive the help they need.
“We have been serving high-risk youth for 14 years in Surrey,” said Kyla Bains, youth services manager with FRAFCA. “Our goal is to begin expanding those services to youth who are aging out of care and in need of housing support. We need to start finding long-term solutions for stability for our youth.”
Vancouver-based rock band Bitterly Divine will perform, along with youth and advocates who have experienced the child-welfare system, “singing and telling their stories through videos and spoken word.” Meredith Graham, Coast Mental Health’s 2016 Courage to Come Back award winner, will speak, and Nyla Carpentier will emcee.
Tickets are $65 for the 19-plus event, which is sponsored by Vancity Credit Union, Surrey Firefighters Association and SEMO Foundation, or $480 for a table of eight. For info, visit eventbrite.ca or frafca.org, or call 604-595-1170.
Draw prizes include an all-inclusive trip for two to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. A live auction will be held, and a silent auction will include an autographed Quinn Hughes hockey stick donated by Vancouver Canucks, handmade Indigenous carvings and jewelry, concert and hockey tickets, spa packages and more.
Last year’s gala was deemed “a great success” after $17,000 was raised for the youth housing project.
Said Bains: “We believe that providing a supportive housing model with wraparound services during these years is an essential service that is currently lacking in our community, but together as a community we can make this goal a reality.”
Prior to becoming a friendship centre in 2012, FRAFCA started as Surrey Aboriginal Cultural Society in the early 1990s and eventually became Kla-How-eya Aboriginal Centre. The association is headquartered at #101-10095 Whalley Blvd.
There are more than 15,600 Indigenous people in Surrey — the second largest urban Indigenous population in B.C., according to stats posted at frafca.org. The city’s Indigenous population is growing at seven per cent per year, according to the website.