DSC_0853 DSC_0904Surrey: Vancouver cop Kal Dosanjh and Olympic wrestler Arjun Bhullar have teamed up and formed an organization namely ‘KidsPlay’, in conjunction with Guru Angad Dev Elementary School.

The school will run several sports programs throughout 2015 in various sports, providing youth with a positive conduit to express themselves versus engaging in a lifestyle of gangs, drugs and crime. The first major tournament that the school has planned is a wrestling tournament on January 16 and 17, 2015 at the Richmond Olympic Oval in collaboration with BC Wrestling Association. Approximately 600-700 youth will be participating in this program.

At launch of KidsPlay, Kal Dosanjh said “Every couple of months we will hold a new sports program with a community partner in that respective sport. Arjun and I believe that education and sports are two sides of the same coin. Therefore, we will set aside a small percentage of the funds we collect to support educational programs at Guru Angad Dev Elementary School.”

Kal added, “In the last 15 years, the rate of violent crime among young people has increased by 30%. From gangland style killings stretching from Vancouver to Toronto, Canadian Cities are struggling with a wave of youth crime that was unimaginable a couple of decades ago. Many experts attribute the spike in youth crime to the increased number of street gangs-often the perpetrators of youth crime. Research indicates that youth seek comfort from those who welcome them and reinforce their sense of belonging. Unfortunately, some youth have no choice to turn to street gangs in order to satisfy their need for approval, belonging and self-worth”.

Explaining the connect between youth, sports and youth crime reduction, Kal further added, “ There is no consensus among experts on how to reduce youth crime. Crime involvement usually starts before the age of 15, with first time offences declining markedly once young people reach 20 years of age. There is little evidence that punitive sanctions such as incarceration, community service hours, have been effective at reducing juvenile crime. There needs to be a balanced approach to dealing with young offenders. Some may need to be incarcerated, but many more need to be engaged in community programs that builds character, increases self-esteem and develop life skills. Social development programs that provide youth with positive peer interactions, opportunities to develop problem solving skills and a support adult help reduce the risk factors associated with youth crime.”

Kal says, “Although there is limited evidence of a direct causal relationship between youth sport and youth crime reduction, there are several rationales as to why youth sport reduces youth crime”. He listed following:

  • Keeps young people busy and out of trouble
  • Meets a need that youth have for excitement
  • Makes young people feel empowered
  • Fosters teamwork
  • Develops self esteem