Anti-gang forum hopes to steer youth away from violence
In a large Abbotsford auditorium filled with strangers, Jessica Sherman shared a painful experience about how gang violence ended her brother's life.
"My brother was a lion and he had all the values of a lion. He was the most honest hard-working highly empathetic kids. He was all things wonderful," she told CTV News.
In October of 2014, her brother, Harwin Baringh was killed in a drive-by shooting.
At the time, neighbours reported hearing half a dozen shots ring out before the 18-year-old's body was found slumped over of the steering wheel of the vehicle.
Sherman said her family knew the teen was associating with the wrong people, but they didn't believe he was the intended target.
The unexpected death triggered her to become involved in the Kidsplay Foundation, a non-profit that helps youth stay away from drugs and gangs by getting them involved in recreational activities.
She also organized the gang forum on Saturday afternoon to prevent the same tragedy from happening ever again.
"We're just trying to reset that narrative about how there are external factors that play a major role not just families," she explained.
Kal Dosanjh with Kidsplay said for some reason, there is a disproportionate number of Southeast Asian youth that is becoming involved in drugs and gangs.
"I'm sure there is a myriad of factors, from a social-economic point of view, with respect to why these kids get involved in the lifestyle," he said.
He said one powerful way to make a positive impact is by having a conversation at home.
"When parents start talking to their kids, having and establishing that dialogue at home, it could make it tremendous and significant difference."
To learn more about Kidsplay and some of its upcoming events, visit its website here.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Breanna Karstens-Smith