Helping students LEAP ahead
A team of Simon Fraser University students is helping a group of young inner-city students take a leap in confidence.
The SFU students are volunteers with Big LEAP, an educational mentorship program created by students who earlier this year formed One Big Movement (OBM), a non-profit organization that addresses issues of child poverty in B.C.
Big LEAP (an acronym for Learn, Engage, Accomplish, Progress) began in September and pairs SFU students with those at the Downtown Eastside’s Sir William Macdonald elementary school. The mentors teach about the importance of community engagement, leadership and life skills.
“Our goal is to take a proactive approach to addressing child poverty by helping children through community engagement and mentorship,” says Lynn Shinto, an SFU communication student and OBM co-founder. Shinto also belongs to Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) Simon Fraser, now known as Enactus SFU.
The Big LEAP program involves about 20 students in Grades 3-5, many of whom come from low-income families.
"As a classroom teacher, I always dreamed about the possibility of bringing mentors into my students' lives,” says Sir William Macdonald teacher Linda Peterson, who earned her master’s degree in educational practice at SFU.
“One teacher just can't be all things to every student. I'm very grateful for the connections the Big LEAP volunteers are making with students.”
During weekly visits from program volunteers, the young students learn about their community, talk about their goals and life aspirations and engage in arts and crafts to explore their talents.
“Through Big LEAP, we aim to help more children to become active citizens in their community as they grow,” says Christine Liew, an SFU Surrey business student and project manager.
This weekend they’re raising awareness of the Big LEAP program by showcasing artwork created by the youths, at an Arts Night on Saturday, Oct. 27, 4-7 pm at Vancouver’s Network Hub. The event will include a networking reception as the organization formally introduces itself to the community. Peterson will be among speakers at the event.
To attend, register at http://at.sfu.ca/bmNCUJ. Cost is $10, which includes entry in a draw for a Samsung Galaxy SIII phone. Every $2 donated thereafter will get an additional ballot for the draw.
Earlier this year, OBM volunteers collected more than 2,300 baby items to help YWCA programs such as the single mothers’ support service.
Simon Fraser University is Canada's top-ranked comprehensive university and one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 120,000 alumni in 130 countries.
Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.