Our Young Liberals’ Involvement with Say Thanks Surrey

August 28, 2020

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In May, as British Columbia’s coronavirus cases continued to soar, the spirit of the South Surrey-White Rock community began to slope.

“Say Thanks Surrey” is a youth-led initiative established at the height of the pandemic, aimed to celebrate and express gratitude towards local healthcare and frontline workers through yard signs. What began as efforts to bring the community together during a time of separation soon became an avenue for youth to express their creativity and engagement in an impactful manner.

Capturing the attention of several media sources like The Peace Arch NewsSurrey Now Leader, and The Indo-Canadian Voice, the team gained recognition throughout the community and eventually grew to become a team of over 50 dedicated students in South Surrey-White Rock.

“This initiative really reminded me how tightly-knit the community of South Surrey-White Rock really is.”

Jasper Matthe
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Among them, were several former and current young liberals who played key roles throughout the campaign. Gary Xie, former Youth Chair of SSWR EDA, introduced the idea itself and led the team with his twin sister, Lisa Xie. Cindy Li, Phone Bank Lead and member of the Young Liberals of South Surrey-White Rock, served as Lead of Media Outreach for Say Thanks Surrey. Olyvia Guo, current Youth Chair, contributed as Lead of Business Outreach. Karina Zhou, a member of the young liberals volunteered as Mural Lead. Members, Jasper Matthe, Sana Shams, Ruby Kramer, and Stuti Sharma were also involved in the process from start to finish.

The group managed to also raise nearly $2,000 for the local Surrey Memorial Hospital, and Peace Arch Hospital, through donations in exchange for the yard signs. For a minimum donation of $15, these signs would be delivered straight to your door by one of Say Thanks Surrey’s Volunteers.

On July 29, a Youth Townhall took place with three Peace Arch healthcare workers. Guests, Dr. Heinz Gunter, Kathy McIntyre, and Joan Dewinetz have roots that extend deep within the community through the local healthcare system. Moderated by Olyvia Guo, the event was a great opportunity to hear from those who Say Thanks Surrey have been supporting during the initiative.

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Additionally, the team made their mark in the community quite literally and permanently through a mural painted outside the Peace Arch Hospital Emergency Room. The wall that belongs to the White Rock Stata faced the ER entrance at the side of the hospital. After nailing down on a bright design that would hopefully bring smiles to healthcare workers on their to work, the painting process began.

“Say Thanks Surrey provided me with an opportunity to connect with my community when it was needed the most… I am now able to appreciate each and every member of our community, and have built a network of connections along the way.”

Stuti Sharma
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The final event took place on August 21, 2020: The Mural Reveal Party.

“It was a rainbow of colours, depicting elements ranging from Semiahmoo Peninsula landmarks such as the pier and the Peace Arch monument, to hands lifted in unison, working together to hold all of those elements high.”

Tracy Holmes, Surrey Now Leader
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Mural Reveal Gathering, Photos By Melody Morgan Photography, and Deborah Salh.

The initiative experienced tremendous support from members of the community and success in bringing everyone together, ultimately serving as a reminder that hope and gratitude are more contagious than any virus.