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Community Matters - How Jaskaran’s Community Building Project Led him to the CEC’s Bridge Program
By Maryam Liaqat
Have you ever felt the need to do something meaningful in your life? To make a positive difference in the lives of others? Or to contribute to the community? You’re not alone! Jaskaran, a fourth-year Health Sciences student at SFU feels that way too. This is the story of how Jaskaran’s project with the Health Change Lab introduced him to the Bridge Program.
During his first year, Jaskaran knew he wanted to join the SFU Health Change Lab as the program provided students with the opportunity to tackle social, environmental and economic issues for the people and community in the City of Surrey through an application-based team project. Jaskaran knew this program was the perfect fit for him as it aligned with his values of care, compassion and giving back to the community. In addition to this, Jaskaran is avidly interested in projects, problem solving and developing leadership skills. An opportunity like this will suit his future career prospects.
In order to design a well-proposed solution for this project, Jaskaran decided to immerse himself in a role that would allow him to observe and better comprehend the concerns of the community. This led Jaskaran to volunteer with the CEC’s Bridge Program as a Youth Transition Facilitator. The Bridge Program aims to support newcomer youth (ages 14 through 19) in the Surrey School District with their education, settlement and integration in Canada. Jaskaran’s role includes supporting and mentoring the youth through one-on-one sessions and facilitating group activities. Not only did the Bridge Program add value to his project with the Health Change Lab, Jaskaran was also able to understand the youth, create a positive change in their lives and connect with them on a personal level. “I could see my younger self in them”, Jaskaran said.
When asked if Jaskaran had any advice for students looking to contribute to the community through volunteering, he responded enthusiastically,
“Figure out your own values first. The various programs and volunteering opportunities offered at SFU helps with this. After you identify what you’re truly passionate about, hold true to your values and take initiative to search for opportunities that align well with what you believe in. Well-being, self-care and taking time out for yourself is very important. Focus on the positives to solve the negatives.”
Jaskaran’s volunteering experience is truly inspiring and we wish him all the best with his project. If you are just as moved as we are and would like to learn more, check out the CEC’s Bridge Program here and the SFU Health Change Lab here! 😊