Meet Helen! Our Lead Volunteer for Racing Readers

April 20, 2022 | Written by: Helen Hoang | Edited by: Tiffany Chen

    Hi everybody, it is so nice to meet you all! My name is Helen and I am currently completing my undergraduate degree with a Sciology major and Education minor in Counselling and Human Development. Throughout the past couple of years, I have had the amazing opportunities to volunteer and work for community programs that support the growth and development of youth and students. Through these experiences, I have realized how much I love and enjoy working with the younger students. SFU Surrey - TD CEC is one of the amazing community engagement organizations that has supported me in my own journey for about over two years now. I have had the incredible opportunities to be involved with youth programs such Media Minds and Racing Readers through SFU Surrey - TD CEC. I have been a fellow volunteer with Racing Readers since Spring 2020 (right before the program sessions had to move to virtual), before becoming the lead volunteer in Fall 2021 and have really loved fulfilling this role ever since. In my lead volunteer role, I help to facilitate and oversee the after-school program that supports the development of educational skills and physical and social well-being of elementary-aged students in grade 2-5. 

    The programs and people at SFU Surrey - TD CEC have given me the guidance and push to develop my experience, knowledge, and skills when it comes to working with youth, working in a team, and working as a leader and mentor to others. My journey in working in this community has allowed me to learn and grow so much on both a professional and personal level. Not only have I been able to develop my leadership, communication, organizational, and collaboration skills, but I have also grown my passion and appreciation for working with youth and playing an active part in my community. Through the bright smiles that each student comes into each session with to the progress and accomplishments they share with self-confidence and joy, these are a few of the most fulfilling parts of working in youth programs such as Media Minds and Racing Readers. It is these exact moments that make me incredibly grateful to be a part of SFU Surrey - TD CEC community and to take on this role that allows me to make a difference in students’ lives. 

    As a lead volunteer for Racing Readers, it has been an amazing journey to be a mentor to others and to collaborate with other SFU students and volunteers to help support the youth in our community. I personally know how uncertain or nerve-wracking it can feel to be a new volunteer or new member of a program. I have learned that it is important to be candid and transparent with the volunteers as it helps build a spirit of community and trust. As leaders, we are not always perfect, and we are always constantly learning together throughout our collaboration in wanting to build a better community. To recognize the beauty in this, we build an environment of openness of comfort and encouragement which provides the foundation for effective collaboration and engagement with one another. Another best part of being a mentor is being able to meet so many different fellow SFU students and to work with them towards a shared goal to help support the youth and better our community. It has been such an honour to be a leader to many amazing individuals and to be a part of their own journeys. 

    With that being said, I would 100% push for those who are considering working with SFU Surrey - TD CEC to definitely do it! Working in this community has been one of the greatest highlights of my undergraduate experience because I have learned and grown so much on both a professional and personal level. I have met such amazing fellow volunteers and youth students and I get to make a difference in my own community. It has been such a rewarding and fulfilling feeling to be a part of an amazing organization that upholds such great values and such a supportive environment that only wants to see you thrive. Hope to see you join SFU Surrey TD Community Engagement Centre soon!

The SFU Surrey - TD CEC is currently recruiting fellow SFU students and alumnis for the Racing Readers program! If you'd like to join us for a fun summer, join us here!