By Shashi Goel
Ravneet Thandi is a twenty-year-old psychology student at SFU who works at Surrey Road to Home Society (SHHTF) to prevent homelessness. She shares her passion and her work to help the community. She is currently making a lot of impact through her community work.
She said that the excruciating housing price struggle in Greater Vancouver knows how such hardship can worsen society. The promise of safety and reducing homelessness attracted Ravneet to join and work at Surrey Road to Home Society.
Ravneet shares her time wisely with her studies and social cause, where she feels most important. However, she reveals that when she sees people on the street living in the cold, there is heaviness deep inside, wishing she could do something for them. Surrey Road to Home society is doing great work for homeless people struggling in their lives or careers by providing a temporary home.
Born and brought up in Canada from immigrant parents, she remembers when her parents lived in the basement apartment at the beginning of their careers, but she still felt at home. Because being with family and having a place to live is comforting and reassuring.
“But my parent works hard, and It’s pretty difficult to find like your own footing at the beginning, but they made it.”
Creating awareness and working on homelessness is crucial for many local people, including new immigrants, who often do not discuss their struggles. “I think a lot of immigrant families can relate that when you come to a new country, the differences in values from their old country versus Canada are obvious. It can be difficult to assimilate. Some may find a lot of trouble finding a place, which could lead to homelessness,” said Ravneet.
Surrey Road to Home Society (SHHTF), a nonprofit organization, organizes every year’s annual event, the coldest night of the year walkathon by (cnoy.org). It was on February 26, 2022, at Chuck Bailey Recreation Center. This year through the SHHTF event, they target raising $25000 for working on such matters and helping Surrey Whalley Community.
“SHHTF has been quite active on social media and easily can be found on Facebook, Instagram. In addition, people can assist Surrey Road to Home society by joining, donating, or supporting walk events. All the money we raised stays and used in Surrey community”, said Ravneet.
Her family always supports and promotes her work. “They’re very supportive of it every for our fundraising event. Specifically, they always attend or like the fundraiser that I do and like helping me to organize,” said Ravneet.
She has a big family, including relatives, siblings, and all living in Canada, and sometimes they drive her crazy—in a good way.
“Feeling connected with each other make my life worth living. I am happy to keep in touch with my family even if it goes crazy at times,” declares Ravneet while smiling.
She feels inspired by her mother and her work. She feels proud to have such a supportive mother. Leading her life and career, she finds her mother ideal. “My mother has a charismatic role to me, and she is a very inspiring figure in my life.”
She developed a strong interest in psychology, compelling her to pursue her degree, emphasizing that mental health is the main reason for many crises. Whether it’s addiction, homelessness, or whatever issues—most ends up being mental health-related. Hence, it goaded her to pursue psychology to understand the scientific study of the human mind and behavior. She can help solve the problems of those who are down and out.
“SHHTF organizes the short-stay home, winter home shelter, and rental support program. It collaborates with other community organizations to work comprehensively to uplift those who reach out to the organization,” explains Ravneet. “We provide all support in one place, preventing other difficulties for an individual looking for help: from having to go to agencies for the individual purpose each time.”
“Hence, we developed a one-stop system for providing comprehensive support to homeless people and helping them to get better. So they can lead a further better life and can become independent,” said Ravneet, beaming with hope.
Her Grandma (Nani) plays a significant role in setting the foundation and values that she carries in her life. “She’s the perfect, kind, genuine grandmother, for she’s so loving. She taught me a lot.
“No matter who you come across, it doesn’t matter how they treat you. You always should start by treating others with kindness because God believes in Karma,” said Ravneet, quoting her dear grandma.