With headliners like Daniel Wesley, Robyn and Ryleigh, DJ Coco Fresh and Aldergrove’s Her Brothers, it’s going to be an epic outdoor concert this Saturday at the rugby field at Langley Events Centre.
But the concert is just half the fun that the youth organizers have put together for this fundraiser, which runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Also taking the stage will be Vitality Dance Co., who have put together a moving Youtube video tribute to the 162 Langley youth identified as homeless. Lisa’s School of Dance and three Langley school bands will also perform.
Principals and police officers will take their chances at the dunk tank, there will be a barbecue put on by the leadership students, coffee by Tim Horton’s, Menchie’s frozen yogurt and David’s Tea. The Langley Blaze are bringing a batting cage, there will be a velcro run. Other surprises are planned.
The young organizers are hoping for a huge turnout to help spread the word about the lack of a homeless shelter for youth in Langley.
It’s taken endless hours of work for the teens, who have spent the summer planning the day. All the proceeds will go toward getting a safe emergency shelter for youth in Langley — something that currently doesn’t exist.
“What is truly unique about this is it is teenagers who took leadership on this, who have spent the countless hours organizing every detail,” said Brookswood leadership teacher Lenny Yun.
“As youth, we don’t always see adults listen to us but they are hearing us and it’s empowering,” said BSS Grade 12 student organizer, Jordyn Laird. Along with Meaghan Laycock, they have asked for a grant from Langley Township council, hit up numerous businesses for support, secured the entertainment, got permits, and have learned a lot along the way.
YOUTH HELPING YOUTH
It’s a ton of work but the pair, along with the 13 or so other youth in the task force, say it was necessary for them to step up for teens in crisis when adults weren’t.
“We started this a year ago and even with us, it was that initial shock of learning just how many youth were homeless in Langley. I was walking down the hallways thinking it could be anyone here. We knew we needed to act,” said Laycock.
“At first, no one had heard about it, now we have so many of our peers coming up to us asking how they can help, what can they do. It’s amazing how many youth are aware of the issue now.”
Both Grade 12 students said that going into their last year of high school, they “knew we were in it for the long haul.”
“We know a shelter isn’t going to happen right away,” said Laird.
There are a lot of components to a youth shelter beyond funding, they said.
“It’s about the right location, the supports need to be there and the community needs to feel safe about the location and the youth need to feel safe going there.”
Encompass Services Society has been helping the teens along the way. The not-for-profit organization that helps youth at risk and homeless youth in Langley and Aldergrove, has also been asking for a youth shelter for years.
For the teens and for Yun – it’s unfathomable that if there is a youth in crisis in Langley they have no safe place to turn.
“I have a teenager, families can have fall outs. I would want to know he has a safe place in his community to go,” said Yun about why she is so motivated to bring this to her home town.
The teen task force has no plans to end the campaign with the Sept. 24 concert. They were at the Home Depot last Saturday to kick off their Orange Door campaign to fundraise for a youth shelter. They are also planning for a walk in the future, with the hope of lining the Langley Bypass with 162 people to give people a visual image of how many homeless youth that represents.
“We are not going out with just this big bang, we have lots of bangs to go,” said Laird.
“We knew this was a long-term project and will continue with this even after graduation, as have a couple grads already. We are passionate to keep driving forward and want to be there to see the opening of the shelter.”
Tickets are $2 for youth and $4 for adults and available at the entrance.
Daniel Wesley, a former Brookswood student and former student of teacher Lenny Yun, will perform at the Sept. 24 fundraiser. Her Brothers and DJ Coco Fresh are also taking the stage to name a few.