Ameet Khaira

How volunteering has helped a new transfer student open a door of possibilities

December 10, 2020

By Haebin Pan

How Volunteering has Helped a New Transfer Student Open a Door of Possibilities

Ameet Khaira, a fourth-year student with a major in statistics and a minor in business, transferred from Kwantlen University to SFU in her second year. In a new atmosphere, volunteering with SFU Surrey - TD CEC has helped her thrive and open a door of multiple possibilities. Let us take a look at the main takeaways from her experience and explore the benefits of volunteering!

Ameet’s Reasons for Volunteering

Ameet has been looking for opportunities beyond the classroom experience at SFU. At a career and volunteer fair, she found a booth for SFU Surrey - TD CEC and signed up for its newsletter. She wanted to be more involved and put herself in roles that she was unfamiliar with.

The Experiences Rooted in Mentorship

Ameet volunteered at Racing Readers for 1.5 to 2 years. As a Racing Readers volunteer, she was responsible for facilitating literary, numeracy, and physical activities for students in Grades 2 to 5. After working with the students at Racing Readers, Ameet found her new passion for mentorship.

After reading the newsletter that she received from SFU Surrey - TD CEC, she found a program called DIVERSEYouth Expressions, a program launched through the collaboration between SFU Surrey - TD CEC and DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society. As a volunteer at DIVERSEYouth, Ameet got to help newcomer youth gain confidence and integrate into their new community. She got to share her personal experiences as a post-secondary student. Since she also wanted a mentor when she was younger, she hoped to offer support to others by becoming a mentor herself.

After her experience with DIVERSEYouth Expressions, Ameet also got to become a mentor at DY Youth Mentoring Cafés and Red Fox Youth Cafés. At these organizations, she had the opportunity to share more about her life as a student, discuss her path to post-secondary, and share her knowledge of various pathways. During this challenging time of COVID-19, Ameet found the importance of reaching out to as many young people as she could. She wanted to help them broaden their knowledge of the possibilities laid out to them.

Valuable Skills that Ameet Gained

Ameet definitely had a chance to develop and strengthen her mentorship skills. She also got to learn how to conduct herself in her roles and create personal connections with people. She also had a chance to develop public speaking skills. For the DY Youth Mentoring Cafés, SFU Surrey - TD CEC assigned a leadership role to Ameet, and Ameet got to be in charge of other volunteers. This valuable experience has helped Ameet build leadership skills—developing and enhancing the soft skills that are needed by people from any field.

Volunteering with the Communities while Majoring in a Field Related to Math or Science

Ameet shared that people with a major in a field related to math or science should also seek volunteering experiences beyond their studies. Soft skills such as leadership, communication, and teamwork skills make an individual become well-suited to the workplace environment. Ameet emphasized that gaining soft skills help an individual to become more employable and broaden their scope of knowledge and experiences.

Ameet’s Thoughts about SFU Surrey - TD CEC’s Role in Helping Students Gain New Opportunities

New volunteers should never hesitate to branch out and take part in opportunities outside of their classes and their comfort zone!  It can be challenging initially to find an opportunity that matches their interests. However, SFU Surrey - TD CEC makes it easy for people to find an accessible list of opportunities. Their newsletters also help volunteers to find more opportunities to be involved with different community organizations. The Community Engagement Associates are always there to help the volunteers when needed, and the new volunteers can track their volunteer hours to put in their co-curricular record. SFU Surrey - TD CEC is ready to help volunteers to take initiative and start exploring.