Last month, all of the girls on Team Jilly and I were lucky to have an online session led by Detective Constable Anisha Parhar and Sergeant Sandy Avelar from Her Time Vancouver. Her Time was started by Detective Constable Anisha Parhar and Sergeant Sandy Avelar as a response to organized crime in Vancouver and its effects on women. During our session, we heard from a few of the women that Anisha and Sandy have helped through Her Time; they were so brave to share their experiences with us, and they will be taking over the blog later this month to share their stories with you too.
We also learned about the gangs prevalent throughout the greater Vancouver area and their program, which helps educate young women involved in gangs and organized crimes. Today, I’m handing over the blog to Anisha and Sandy to share some more information on their backgrounds and how they came to develop Her Time Vancouver. Plus, they’re joining me LIVE on Instagram today from 1 pm – 2 pm PST, and we would love it if you could join us!
Also, if you are receiving a Spring Jilly Box this season, a portion of the proceeds are being donated to Her Time, to help them further their reach and program development.
Take it away ladies!
It’s been long overdue. For as long as can be remembered, the focus of gang intervention and prevention was always geared toward young men. Was that beautiful, smart, talented young woman by his side not as important? Whether this woman was intentionally involving herself or was placed into the lifestyle through a vulnerable situation, she needed and deserved to have the resources to exit or never enter the lifestyle in the first place. A life of guns, hard drugs, abuse and a fear of not knowing if she would see tomorrow wasn’t the life she was meant to live.
Detective Constable Anisha Parhar and Sergeant Sandy Avelar instantly gravitated toward one another when working in the Vancouver Police Gang Crime Unit, as the only female overt gang partnership in Canada, they knew their similar passion and drive would create what is now their labor of love, “Her Time”, an anti-gang initiative focused on females. Anisha and Sandy have over 35 years of law enforcement experience between the two of them (and no, they won’t share their ages!).
After launching the program in 2017, both officers garnered international praise with their unique approach to educating, deterring, and preventing young women from entering the ‘gang’ lifestyle. In addition to proactive methods, “Her Time” also offers reactive resources to assist women who are immersed in the lifestyle. The program was created and is operated on the officers’ days off, and is fully supported by law enforcement agencies all over the Lower Mainland. One of the most important concepts of “Her Time” is “Humanizing the Badge” to their audiences.
In 2019, Anisha and Sandy were chosen to receive the International Police Officers Community Service Award, presented in Alaska. The presentation is delivered by the officers along with experiential speakers–women that formerly lived the lifestyle. Messages of real life stories, case studies, and the realities of frontline gang work are presented to audiences. Presentations have been delivered from elementary schools to graduating university students. In addition to speaking with schools, “Her Time” has been delivered to numerous law enforcement conferences across Canada and the US.
Let’s recall a little bit of a “fangirl” moment: Anisha and Sandy were presenting at the Southern California Gang Conference, and post-presentation a few older gentlemen approached both officers, “Well ladies, absolutely everything you said about women in the lifestyle is completely accurate. We saw it first hand.” Both officers were a little perplexed and looked at each other and thought who are these guys? Well as it turns out…ever seen Narcos on Netflix? So two of the guys were the two DEA agents that took down Pablo Escobar (excuse me while we collect our jaws from the floor). The third gentleman, well yeah, that was the real “Donnie Brasco”, Joe Pistone, only the most famous undercover FBI agent to infiltrate the mafia and dismantle several of the most powerful mob families. Just a little fun fact!
Recently, a dream of “Her Time” became a reality. With the help of the Vancouver Police Foundation and a collaboration with the Washington Kids Foundation, “Her Time” secured and designed girls’ in-school and afterschool programs. These amazing home bases help girls gain skills in relationship building, technology, finances and health and fitness, just to name a few. Let’s give young women the tools to make the right choices in what can often be difficult or tempting situations!
Anisha and Sandy want to change the mindset of “I need him/he financially takes care of me/it’s easy quick money/he’s connected and untouchable (we know this isn’t true)/I am different and won’t end up like other girls” and move it to “I can be healthy/fit/financially independent/creative without needing to date or associate myself with anyone who is involved in that world!”
As we love to say: Be the woman who fixes another woman’s crown without telling the world it was crooked! – author unknown.
Anisha, Sandy and the Her Time Team