Letters: Langley Youth Homelessness Task Force continue efforts to raise awareness

Members seeking warm clothing, food and gifts for homeless youth

Clothing, food drive now underway

Editor: My name is Eunice Kang and I am currently a Grade 9 student at Walnut Grove Secondary School.

I am writing on behalf of the Langley Youth Homelessness Task Force, an organization led by a group of students that would like to raise awareness for youth homelessness in Langley.

Our initiative is to bring a shelter into Langley, as it is one of the few cities in British Columbia that does not have a youth shelter. Several teens in Langley live difficult lives. They struggle to find a bed for the night, and usually resort to staying at a friend’s house. They travel to school, do their homework and try to find food for themselves —  all while trying to maintain a “normal” life.

We have been bringing awareness to this issue by presenting to various community organizations and organizing our September fundraiser event.

On Sept. 24, the Youth Homelessness Task Force held an outdoor concert/fair at the Langley Events Centre to help the people of Langley become aware of this ongoing issue.

This event was extremely successful as we had over 500 people come out and support us.

This was also successful because it encouraged a few other amazing individuals from our community to also organize fundraisers for Langley youth. There was a concert by the Longriders band on Oct. 8 and there will be a concert in December at the Orpheum theatre, organized by a local Langley realtor.

Due to the upcoming winter season, the task force wanted to put together hampers of food, clothing, and gifts for our most needy students.

We are looking for gently used, warm clothing for youth aged 12-18 and any financial support to help buy gifts for these needy individuals. We are also looking for donations of healthy, non-perishable foods to help sustain the teens throughout the two-week winter break.

We would love to have people support our hamper drive. If you would like to help, please contact our District Leadership teacher, Ms. Lenny Yun at lyun@sd35.bc.ca. We are beyond happy and excited that our community is working together as a team to turn this youth shelter into a reality, but right now, we would like to deal with the imminent need of clothing and food for our homeless youth.

Eunice Kang,

Grade 9, WGSS

 

Winter school break will limit access to meals

Editor: As a Grade 9 student and as a teen, I’m pleased to say that there are many people who have been putting in a gigantic amount of effort into our attempt to get a youth shelter in Langley for our at-risk youth.

On Sept. 24, Lenny Yun, a leadership teacher in the Langley school district, community partners and the Langley Youth Homelessness Task Force organized an outdoor fundraiser/concert at Langley Events Centre.

The event was a big success, thanks to many students, teachers and sponsors.

There were 36 booths with a variety of fun games and activities; some were sponsored by schools, some by local organizations like Home Depot, Twin Rinks Physio and VanCity. Other businesses like Tim Hortons, Menchies and David’s Tea donated their products to support us in our fundraising efforts.

In addition, there were many local musicians who gave their time and talent. This event has inspired others to take action.

Two generous ladies organized a fundraiser with the Longriders Band on Oct. 8 and a local realtor is organizing a concert at the Orpheum theatre on Dec. 10.

There are plenty of people doing as much as they can to help, including us — Langley Youth Homelessness Task Force.

For the next few weeks, we want to address the upcoming winter season, so we are making gift/clothing hampers and food backpacks for our homeless youth.

We would like to provide whatever support is possible as they will need warm clothes and food especially since they cannot access school meal programs during the two-week winter break.

We are happy that the community is coming together to help with our Langley youth homelessness problem. Now we are turning to the community again to help our youth in the upcoming winter season. If you can help us, please contact Ms. Yun at lyun@sd35.bc.ca.

Let’s work together and help the youth in our community.

Prabhasha Wickramaarachchi,

Grade 9, WGSS

 

Every day is filled with stress

Editor: I am an Aldergrove Community Secondary School student and member of the Langley Youth Homelessness Task Force.

I would like to talk about the problem of youth homelessness in Langley.

Data reveals that in Langley there were 162 youth homeless or at risk of being homeless last year. Many couch surf, staying at friends’ houses for a few days before having to move on.

They spend each day stressing over whether they’d find another friend and couch to sleep on, anxious about when and what their next meal is going to be.  Even while dealing with these constant worries, some youth are still trying to attend school.

While schools can provide a warm place, support, and often access to programs such as Breakfast Club during weekdays, what happens on weekends and when schools close for winter break?  A shelter for homeless youth does not exist in Langley.

On Sept. 24, I was a participant at the “Langley Youth Matter” event at the Langley Events Centre.  It was a huge success where the community came together to raise awareness about youth homelessness and to raise funds to provide a shelter in Langley.

The amazing thing about this event was how many Langley students were involved in the planning and running of the event. I was proud to be a part of this enthusiasm and drive.

Currently, the task force members are planning some activities at each of our schools to fund the purchase of backpacks with warm clothes, food and Christmas gifts for Langley’s homeless youth.

Donations — financial or in-kind — from local businesses or members of the community are greatly appreciated and can be brought to the Langley School Board Office or one of the high schools that has a Youth Task Force member: Walnut Grove Secondary, Brookswood Secondary, Langley Secondary, Aldergrove Secondary and R.E. Mountain Secondary.

Thank you so much to those of you in the community who have helped address this important need so far.

If you can support our immediate cause of providing hampers for our at-risk youth, or would like to help us in raising funds and awareness for a youth shelter, please contact our District Leadership teacher, Ms. Lenny Yun at lyun@sd35.bc.ca.

Kenny Hoang

Grade 9, ACSS

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