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Surrey Youth Amplifying Their Voices


Designed to give youth a platform to voice their opinions and affect change in their community, the 11th annual Youth Speak Up forum, held October 25 at City Hall, welcomed 141 participants (ages 13–18) for a day of workshops, activities and discussion.

This year’s workshops focused on education, transportation and sustainability. Participants discussed how they can help mitigate climate change, successfully navigate the transition from secondary to post-secondary, the future of transportation in Surrey, and the new youth mental health hub.

After the workshops, participants toured Surrey City Hall, including a visit to council chambers, the mayor’s office and the traffic management centre.

Committed to advancing youth engagement opportunities, the Surrey Leadership Youth Council (SLYC) dedicated 30+ hours to organize the successful event. We asked a few participants and leadership council members to share their thoughts on the importance of the event and involving youth in community decision making.

What’s the impact of the Youth Speak Up Forum?

Likhita, SLYC member: YSU gives youth confidence; it allows them to explore topics and learn about things that they might not have known about Surrey or their community and, in doing so, they learn how to give back to it.

Jeevyn, SLYC member: YSU gives youth a platform to speak up and raise their voice on issues that they talk about with others that will affect them in the future or even now.

Daniella, YSU participant: This space is important for advocacy and community development because it gives youth a platform to share their thoughts with their community.

How are youth voices important?

Iqra, SLYC member: We are the upcoming generation and we make up a significant part of the community, if we don’t consider what youth are saying now, we won’t have a strong community now or in the future.

Stin, YSU participant: I think having youth voices are important because we must know what’s going on; we can’t be out of the loop; otherwise, we can’t progress. The future is our future.

Veronika, SLYC member: Even as youth, we have the power to make a difference because together we are stronger, and with care and creativity, we can make the world a better place for everyone.

The Youth Speak Up Report

In 2020, SLYC will develop a 2019 Forum Report highlighting all the recommendations youth discussed at Youth Speak Up. For information about last year’s recommendations, view the 2018 Youth Speak Up Forum Report.

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Surrey Youth Leadership Council