Community Impact Report

Hi there,

In July, our team from Yo Bro | Yo Girl Youth Initiative was on hand to support Linda Hepner, the Mayor of Surrey, as she announced her new Task Force on Gang Violence Prevention. In the wake of yet another gang-related shooting that left two teenagers dead, the Mayor was under pressure from thousands of parents, students and community members to stem the tide of gang violence that has taken over Surrey’s streets.

The Task Force identified that the main pillar of keeping kids out of gangs is investing in prevention programs for pre-teens and teenagers. Research from the RCMP shows that Surrey’s gang members are typically 16 years old when they commit their first crime and that an average gang member is just 23 years old. 

What this tells me is that YBYG’s focus on prevention-based programming is exactly where we should be continuing to invest our resources if we want to see change in our community. When we host after-school martial arts programs, or get a group of teenage girls together to talk about Respectful Relationships, or connect with a classroom full of Grade 6 students to share our personal experiences with gangs, drugs and violence, we are literally fighting for kids’ lives. 

You have been an essential part of that fight and I am so grateful for your support. Because of you, my team was able to reach over a thousand young people in high schools and elementary schools across Metro Vancouver with our proven prevention methods that stop them from getting swept away in the current of drugs, gangs and violence.

You are not just changing lives of at-risk youth in our community – you are saving them.

Thank you for your generous support and encouragement,

Joe Calendino 

Co-Founder and Executive Director

Enough is enough."

Mandeep’s nephew, Jassi, was killed on June 4, 2018 in a gang-related shooting in Surrey. He was just 17 years old.

Mandeep Bhangal

The pressure for our youth to conform to peer pressure and the lure to get involved with drugs, gangs and violence is strong. 

But with your help, we are investing in the resiliency of our youth and giving them the tools to make good decisions. 


Over the 2017/18 school year we reached over a thousand youth with our proven prevention programs that are helping to keep kids away from gangs and out of trouble with the law. From connecting with them regularly after school and providing them with snacks, healthy activities and a safe place to belong, to working with incarcerated youth in local prisons, you enabled us to journey through life alongside some of our community’s most vulnerable youth. All year, we set youth up with mentors who cared for them, gave them reasons to turn away from gangs and violence, and helped them believe that they belong – just as they are.

I learn a lot at Yo Bro. We have a lot of talks about life lessons and I have also made a lot of friends. The leaders are just a few years older than me, so I can relate to them so much easier. We’re about to experience what they’ve just gone through - they can tell us about how it’s going to be and what we should steer clear of."

Victor, 17 years old, Student at Spectrum Learning Centre

Mentorship + Leadership

Mentorship is a key part of Yo Bro | Yo Girl Youth Initiatives prevention-based strategy for keeping kids out of gangs and away from violence and crime. 


For them to be able to relate to their leaders is an essential part of helping them feel understood and comfortable. We employ YBYG Alumni to help facilitate our programs and rely on volunteers from our community to help fill that mentorship void and connect with youth in a more powerful and meaningful way.

Sharing Our Story 

Learning from people who have lived-experience is one of the most effective ways to persuade youth that getting involved with gangs and crime isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Our team members have had their own experiences with gangs and violence, and they bring that personal experience to their conversations and relationships with youth facing the same struggles today. This builds trust and understanding, invaluable ingredients of a strong, effective mentor/mentee relationship. 


Through community presentations with schools, local businesses and sports teams, we connected with over 1,500 youth and adults sharing our message of prevention and belonging.

To Hell & Back

This past year, Joe Calendino (Co-Founder and Executive Director) and Gary Little (Founding Board Member) published To Hell and Back – Joe’s story of recovery and redemption as he made his way from a life of crime and violence to respected role model and leader of Yo Bro | Yo Girl Youth Initiative. 


The book has already inspired thousands of readers including over 2,000 students who have received copies through school districts like Delta, Surrey, Vancouver, Yellowknife and the Yukon Territories where the book has become an approved learning resource. 


Learn more at

The Struggle for Belonging Starts Young

with Constable Kristine Pemberton Youth Liaison Officer, Delta Police Department “I was working with our Domestic Violence caseload and noticed that more and more of our calls were actually for the kids of the parents – not actually for the parents themselves.” As kids weren’t feeling secure at home, they were beginning to look elsewhere for a safe place to belong. And the things they were finding weren’t good. “I was seeing more and more mental health challenges like cutting, suicide attempts and substance abuse – which were cries for help. We were also seeing a lot of pseudo-gang behaviour – and what that represents is that kids are trying to figure out where they fit in and belong. They’re searching for identity and struggling to find it.” As Constable Pemberton looked around the community, she found that there weren’t very many opportunities for kids to belong to a collective of peers outside of organized sports. When she transitioned to be a Youth Liaison Officer a few years ago, her priority was to create a new connection point for at-risk youth to a community where they can belong. “That’s why we brought Yo Bro | Yo Girl Youth Initiative to Delta – because of the truly real sense of community and belonging that the kids experience,” she explains. “They come as they are and are put in direct relationship with mentors that have real-life experiences with the struggles they are facing.”

They come as they are and are put in direct relationship with mentors that have real-life experiences with the struggles they are facing.”

Yo Bro | Yo Girl worked with 383 Elementary School Students last year.
“What we’re seeing with YBYG is that the prevention work they do really works,” Constable Pemberton explains. “The earlier we can get connected to kids, the more likely we are able to change their path. Grade 10 and 11 is too late to start working with them because by Grade 8, they’ve already made their decision about which path they’re going to take – they already know if they’re going to get caught up in a gang or if they’re going to choose something better.”

Financial Report

Here’s how your generous support was put to work this past year to make sure that our team of mentors and leaders could be there when at-risk youth in our community needed them the most.
  • $99,979 School district contributions*
  • $302,083 Grant contributions
  • $302,715 Individual & corporate donations
  • $10,983 Gifts in kind
*Metro Vancouver school districts provide varying levels of in-kind and financial support.
  • $479,649 Program costs
  • $36,927 Administrative costs
  • $31,586 Fundraising costs

Community Partners

Andy Amoroso

Arbutus Family Holdings

Avison Young Commercial Real Estate

BDK Development Corporation

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

Boston Pizza

BPS Wealth Management at CIBC
Wood Gundy

Brian Shipper

Britannia Community Centre

Britannia Community Secondary School

Britannia Elementary School

C.H.A.N.C.E. Shxwetetilthet Alternate


Casa Di Coltellaro Development

Chilliwack Education Centre

Churchill Secondary School

City Central Learning Centre

Cloverdale Learning Centre

CQN (EWOS) Canada

Coast Capital

Coltric Properties Ltd.

Delta Police Department

Delta School District

Diamond Foundation

Duric Development

Hay & Watson

Hoylake Developments GP Inc.

Jake Jacobson

KMC Training

LA Matheson Secondary School

Law Enforcement Judo

Liu Salvino

Ministry of Children and Family
Development – Youth Justice, Surrey
Indigenous, Langley, Delta

Newton Recreation Centre

Norm Francis
Odd Squad Productions

Optimist Club of Vancouver
100 Hundred Men Who Give A Damn,

Princess Margaret Secondary School

Proceeds of Crime

Quadra Chemicals

RC Morris & Company

Rob Cortese

Robert and Lori Gritten

Rotary Club – Ladner

Scott Shaw and Marion Man


Social Venture Partners Vancouver

South Surrey Learning Centre

Spectrum Alternate Education Program

SpencerCreo Foundation

Stania Bedford

Street Front Alternate Education Program

SUBWAY (Bottom Line Ventures Ltd)

Surrey City Hall Public Safety Strategy

Surrey Community Schools

Surrey Fire Fighters

Surrey Parks and Recreation

Surrey Safe Schools

Tamanawis Secondary School

The Molnar Group

To Hell and Back

Tom Porteous

Trigate Development Corporation

Tsawwassen First Nation

Vancouver Police Foundation

Vancouver School District

Vancouver Law Tennis & Badminton Club

Wales McLelland Construction

Western Hockey League

WorkSafe BC Helping Hands

We have more to do together. Give now to support the our programs throughout the next school year and keep kids in school and out of gangs.