Jasvinder Singh Khatra is the March Community Champion. (Contributed)

Jasvinder Singh Khatra is the March Community Champion. (Contributed)

Community Champion: Helping through song and dance

March Community Champion Jasvinder Singh Khatra is a believer in multiculturalism

Jasvinder Singh Khatra immigrated to Canada from the Punjab in 1991, sponsored by his wife, Baljinder. He and his wife have two boys (Omeet and Karanmeet) who are both currently attending the University of British Columbia.

Jas explained that even with a masters degree it would have been difficult to find work in India so he was pleased to be able to move to Canada. Jas was well on his way to obtaining this degree, when he immigrated.

He has worked for Canada Post for 28 years, delivering parcels to homes and businesses. He enjoys his job as he meets people all day long and has always found the people of Vernon to be very friendly and welcoming.

Jas has contributed to our community on many levels. He is one of the founding members and currently the president of the Vernon Punjabi Heritage Society, leading a team of 13 directors. He teaches the Punjabi language and folk dances to young boys and girls, as he enjoys being able to pass on Punjabi culture to children who were born in Canada.

Jas is a believer in multiculturalism and has coached soccer to many children belonging to different cultural backgrounds with the goal that they would move on to other formal leagues in Vernon when they were ready.

Every year, he and others organize the annual Vernon Punjabi Heritage Society dinner, dance and entertainment event.

“I perform in Bhangra Dance and several musical plays,” he said. “I also teach Bhangra and my wife helps organize Giddha Dance. Bhangra is performed by both male and female dancers, but Giddha is only done by females.”

He said the Vernon Punjabi Heritage Society was also involved with the Vernon Winter Carnival and won first prize for the visual and performing arts area for three years.

Jas explains that being charitable is a large part of his Sikh faith, so he tries to give back to the community whenever he can.

He has helped organize several samosa sale fundraisers at Superstore, benefiting tsunami relief efforts in Japan, the food bank and Vernon Jubilee Hospital.

He shares that anyone can be Sikh by following the principle beliefs. It is his dream to have more integration with the community.

“All are welcome at the Sikh Temple,” Jas said.

“My soul is happy when I can combine helping others and taking part in theatre, dancing and singing.”

Vernon is fortunate to have such a kind and giving person in our community.

The monthly Community Champion feature is submitted by Respect Works Here, which is an initiative of the Social Planning Council of the North Okanagan. They are also the host agency for the Local Immigration Partnership Council and the Thompson Okanagan Respect Network.

READ MORE: Community Champion a guiding light

READ MORE: Community Champion: Healing through art


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Just Posted

There are currently 15 Kid’s Don’t Float PFD loaner stations located throughout the Shuswap, with three more planned to go up this year. (Shuswap Watershed Council image)
New life-jacket stations planned for Enderby, Eagle Bay

National Lifejacket Day prompts reminder to boaters that accidents can happen

Fate, an American cocker spaniel bred at Lavington’s Aladdin Cockers by Carol and Robin Edwards, is currently the No. 1 ranked cocker spaniel in the U.S. and has drawn an invitation to the world’s most famous dog show, the Westminster Kennel Club event in New York, next month. (Photo submitted)
Lavington-bred cocker spaniel to strut stuff at Westminster Kennel Club

Fate, an American cocker spaniel bred by Carol and Robin Edwards, is the No. 1-ranked cocker spaniel in the U.S.

Armstrong Regional Co-op board members Brett Kirkpatrick (left) and Robbie Hoyte (right) flank Scott John of the Okanagan Screen Arts Society. The co-op donated $2,500 to the society for its Save the Towne Theatre campaign. (ARC photo)
North Okanagan-Shuswap cooperative contributes to Vernon theatre campaign

Armstrong Regional Co-op kicks in $2,500 for Okanagan Screen Arts Society’s Save the Towne Theatre campaign

Geoff Mulligan, left, receives a Ribbons of Green Commendation award from Harold Sellers, Ribbons of Green Trails Society president. (Ribbons of Green photo)
Volunteer puts Vernon trails on the map

Geoff Mulligan earns commendation from Ribbons of Green Trails Society for volunteer work

Coldstream Fire Department is on-scene Sunday, May 16, battling a fire in a Matner Lane orchard just up the hill from the firehall on Aberdeen Road. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Coldstream fire crew tackles orchard blaze

Fire broke out just before 2 p.m. on Matner Lane, which is just up the hill from the firehall on Aberdeen Road

Conservation Service Officer Kyle Bueckert holds a gold eagle that was revived from acute rodent poisoning Monday, May 12. Photo: Submitted
‘Obviously, he’s a fighter’: Golden eagle, recovered from poisoning, back in Kootenay wild

CSO Kyle Bueckert released the eagle into the wild Thursday, May 13

Capt. Jenn Casey died in a crash just outside of Kamloops, B.C., on May 17, 2020. (CF Snowbirds)
Snowbirds to honour Capt. Casey, who died in B.C. crash, in 2021 tour

Tour will kick off in Ontario in June before heading west

This bird box at the Salmon Arm Foreshore lies broken on May 14, 2021 after someone pulled the pole out of the ground and smashed the formerly occupied nest. It was one of more than 30 that have been wrecked. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Destruction of nests, birds at Salmon Arm foreshore described as horrifying

More than 30 bird boxes made by community destroyed, just one was not occupied

Ranchero resident Cody Krabbendam proudly displays the Lifesaving Society awards he recently received for a rescuing another boy while swimming at Sicamous Beach in July 2020. (Contributed)
Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery, scholarship for rescue at Sicamous beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

A pedestrian wearing a mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 is bundled up for the cold weather as snow falls in downtown Vancouver on Saturday, February 13, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Snow possible in mountain passes as cold front hits southern B.C.

Much of B.C.’s southern interior will see temperatures plunge from highs of 30 C reached over the weekend

File photo (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Overturned kayak in Kelowna creek prompts police response

Kelowna RCMP is looking to speak with anyone who may know the individual associated with the kayak

Penticton city parks staff were busy this week using the beach grater to sift through sand, getting the shores ready for beach season. When it comes to beach clean up they are collecting run-off debris, pulling weeds and picking up litter. (Penticton photo)
Hottest day of the year, so far, in the South Okanagan

Penticton city park staff cleaned up the beaches getting ready for the season

Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
B.C. boy receives medal of bravery, scholarship for rescue of child at Shuswap beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

Most Read