We Are Caring: David Dalley

David Dalley

Connecting People of Diverse Faiths in Surrey

Canadian-born David Dalley wants to help connect people of different faiths in Surrey. As co-founder of the Surrey Interfaith Council, David cares about bringing people together, and ensuring the community of Surrey — specifically his neighbourhood of Newton — where he’s lived for 14 years, is a welcoming and harmonious place to live for all.

We Are Strong: Monique Craigen

Monique Craigen

Strength in Identity

Monique Craigen didn’t know that she was of Ojibwe descent until she was a teenager. 

“Growing up people always asked me ‘what I was.’ They couldn’t figure out what my physical look represented. But I didn’t know how to answer that question,” say Monique, who was born in northern B.C.

“My grandmother had not wanted her grandchildren to know our truth because of the discrimination she faced. She felt like she was protecting us.”

We Are Strong: Troy Derrick

Troy Derrick

Skateboarder Constable

Upon meeting Troy Derrick, the first thing you might notice is the skateboard that’s been a permanent fixture in his hands since his early teens. You might also catch a glimpse of the skeleton Mountie tattoo on his arm.

That image is a popular skateboarding graphic, so it’s a bit of a coincidence — or perhaps serendipity — that Troy would one day become a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

We Are Ambitious: Wafa Al-Jabiri

Wafa Al-Jabiri

Entrepreneurial Mom        

You could call Wafa Al-Jabiri your typical Canadian hockey mom. She’s used to getting up in the early hours of the morning to take her daughters to hockey practice, probably with a steaming cup of coffee in her hand to keep warm and awake. She cheers from the sidelines at games as her kids skate up and down the ice at the Surrey Sport and Leisure Complex, and enjoys chatting with the other parents on her team. It’s so Canadian!

We Are Proud: Gary Lising

Gary Lising               

Pinoy and Proud                                  

When Gary Lising was named Mr. Gay Surrey of 2015, only three years after moving to the city in 2012, he couldn’t have been prouder. It was a joyful moment of celebration crowning many years of advocating for the LGBTQ population, specifically among his Filipino community.

We Are Proud: Alex Sangha

Alex Sangha
Point of Pride

It isn’t easy to be “out” in a traditionally conservative culture. Indo-Canadian Alex Sangha is all-too familiar with the stigma that can come with it, but he hasn’t let it stop him from proudly sharing his story and advocating for the LGBTQ community. In fact, it has inspired him to found Sher Vancouver, a social, cultural and support group for LGBTQ South Asians and their friends and families.

We Are Married: Madhurina and Jenya Maryshev

Madhurima and Jenya Maryshev

Love, Marriage and Meditation 

When people of different cultures live together in a multicultural country like Canada, there will no doubt be a few who fall in love. That happened to Madhurima and Jenya Marychev, although their love story began long before they immigrated to Canada.

We Are Nurturing: Muna Amir

Muna Amir

Surmounting Struggle

To look at Muna Amir, you might not guess that she was born in Somalia. “When I talk in Somali, people often look confused. They ask, ‘You’re Somali, really?’” She is, in fact, part of the African country’s Arabic ethnic minority population from the city of Mogadishu.

But she has actually lived in Canada for most of her life. “I came to Ottawa when I was 15 as a refugee,” says Muna. “During the war in Somalia, my family got separated, and I came to Canada with my grandmother.”

We Are Nurturing: Silvia Di Blasio

Silvia Di Blasio

Nurturer by Nature

Silvia Di Blasio is a powerhouse of knowledge about living a sustainable, authentic life. She has credentials on a myriad of topics from permaculture to food sovereignty to community resilience to emergency preparedness.

Silvia is what you might call an engaged citizen. Her motivation? Making the planet, her country and her community of Surrey, a better place for all.  “I’m passionate about truly sustainable and simple living,” says the Argentinean-born mother of two boys.


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