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My Journey as a Lead Volunteer
The hardest part of volunteering is always taking that first step to start. We know that it can be awkward sometimes and one can feel shy. BUT one thing we can happily share is the positive experiences each student has when they complete a volunteer term. There's one to share her experiences with you in case you're hesitant 🤓
My name is Reem Ahmed and I am in my last semester finishing up my major in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (MBB). In the future, I hope to work in the healthcare field. I was the Lead Volunteer for the English Conversation Group Program during the Spring term and my journey with SFU Surrey TD CEC began around the time when COVID began to become more serious. As I was looking for virtual volunteering opportunities, I came across the SFU Surrey - TD Community Engagement Centre and saw how many opportunities they offered! Since then, I had the chance to volunteer for CommuniCreate, RedFox, Youth Expressions, Reading Buddies and LINC.
My previous volunteer experiences working with youth lead me to discover my passion for mentorship. The English Conversation Group program which focuses on supporting newcomers, provided me with the perfect opportunity to indulge in my passion for teaching. This program allowed me to become a part of the support system for newcomers where I can utilize my skills to create a positive impact. Coming from an immigrant family, I understood the difficulty in trying to adjust to an unfamiliar work and social environment. Thus, I decided to to devote my time to this program which is dedicated to supporting newcomers facing similar struggles to better prepare them for success in the future. Since my future studies and career are tied to health sciences or working in team and/ or with patients, I've grown to develop leadership skills throughout my time with the CEC. ECG and SUCCESS have provided me with the opportunity to be a leader to a group of volunteers and allow me to further enhance my planning, teamwork, and leadership skills. I have discovered that being a leader does not just mean being able to lead a team, but there's more to that. It means to inspire others, empathize with others, to support and encourage those you are working with, continuously seek for opportunities to improve oneself and those in your team and set a vision that aligns with the values of the program and work with others to ensure they have the tools to achieve that vision.
My own thoughts of being a mentor has enhanced both my leadership and public speaking skills, and I've become more confident in my own ability to connect with others. It has given me the opportunity to share my knowledge and offer advice, allowing me to make a positive impact on someone’s life. It has been a rewarding experience seeing students grow and succeed. Throughout my mentoring volunteer experiences I have worked with people of all ages, and various backgrounds. In addition to the rewarding experiences, it's always the best to see how much the participants have grown! At first, they started off shy, afraid to speak, but as sessions went by, I noticed how each and every one of them became more confident in their ability to speak English, and I've also noticed a higher level of excitement and eagerness to participate and learn. It is so fulfilling to hear when they share their real-life experiences utilizing English phrases and vocabulary they have learned during sessions.
If there was anything I could share with our fellow peers with volunteering is to just go right in and do it! SFU Surrey - TD Community Engagement Centre has many wonderful programs and opportunities available for volunteering. I would encourage everyone to take a look at what they have to offer, see what meets your interest and do not hesitate to apply and volunteer! I am grateful for being able to volunteer for many of the programs offered by SFU Surrey TD CEC. I have made great connections and met some wonderful people. I have learned so much about different cultures and been able to enhance my time-management, teaching, public speaking, and leadership skills.
For current opportunities at the SFU Surrey - TD Community Engagement Centre, visit us here!