Another Hello From Keira Woo!

March 15, 2022 | Written by: Keira Woo | Edited by: Tiffany Chen

Back in 2020, we had the lovely opportunity to share with everyone a young individua named Keira Woo, I who was (and still is!) passionate about working with and mentoring youth. She continues to be a strong member of the SFU Surrey – TD Community Engagement Centre, as she is the Tutoring, Homework and English Support Program Site Coordinator. We are excited to share her continuing journey and experience with everyone, so don’t stop reading here!

Keira’s Journey:

I am in my last semester of my undergraduate degree pursuing a psychology degree with minors in education, which includes counselling and human development, and curriculum and instruction. After my undergrad, I hope to become an elementary school teacher. In the meantime, as I prepare to become a teacher, I am the Site Coordinator for the Tutoring, Homework, and English Support Program at the SFU TD - Community Engagement Centre.

My journey with volunteering stems from being able to help and feel connected to my community while simultaneously being able to grow professionally. I volunteered for the Racing Readers and the Learning Buddies program prior to becoming a Site Coordinator. It was because of the amazing volunteer experiences that I had during my time at the CEC that gave me the confidence in wanting to become a Site Coordinator. I had already developed important skills in my volunteer experiences (organization, communication, and leadership skills), but I wanted to challenge myself on taking on role that required a higher-level of responsibility. I knew this was my chance to further enrich on those skills. As shared, I am pursuing a career in teaching, more specifically at the elementary level. As the Tutoring, Homework, and English Support Program site coordinator, I have an array of responsibilities. Those responsibilities include (and are not limited to) - ensuring the program runs twice a week, creating a safe and inclusive environment for all, communication with the parents, students, tutors, and managers when needed, and being able to problem-solve. Thus, this role allows me to strengthen my professional skills overall. Being in the position I am in; I’ve been able to develop so many essential skills to becoming a teacher, while continuing to grow my passion.

Being a mentor has greatly impacted me in a positive setting, more specifically in becoming the person I am. One of the best parts of being a mentor is getting too cross-paths with so many different individuals. I find it very special that I get the opportunity to mentor them and become a positive part of their childhood, while also being able to learn from them. Throughout my time as a Site Coordinator, and as a volunteer, I got to not only strengthen the essential professional skills, but developed new interests, rediscover old passions, and got to learn more about the amazing community and the cultures within it. Being able to be that positive influence and create those differences in my community and other individuals is really fulfilling.

Of course with the positives, there will always be the challenges that we will encounter. One of the biggest challenges that I have faced as a site coordinator, is the language barrier between the parents, students, and I. The Tutoring, Homework, and English Support program caters to immigrants and refugee children from grades 4 – 7. Majority of the parents and their children speak English as their second or third language, which is my first language. There are times where our conversations can be misinterpreted on both sides. Though the parents appreciate me reaching out to them via phone calls, they share how emails allow them to have more comfortable dialogues. By emailing, it helps ensure that we are on the same page and prevents the miscommunication.

If I can share a message with future and current students and alumni’s; is working with the SFU Surrey – TD Community Engagement Centre will be one of the most defining moments of my undergrad. I got involved because of my passion of working with kids, wanting to develop essential skills to become a teacher, and support my community. However, not only did I get to accomplish those goals, but I also got to grow and learn in other aspects of my life, such as developing new interests and being able to learn about my amazing community and the cultures within it. What more could you ask for from any experience? I am truly so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to grow in so many ways in the past two years.

To those who are considering if working/ volunteering with the SFU TD Community Engagement Centre is for you, I would say go for it! You’ll gain valuable skills that cannot be developed in a classroom, meet some of the most supportive people that only want you to thrive, get to make a difference in your community, and even influence a person’s life for the better. There are so many positives in getting involved, some that you may not even be expecting, but overall can have a lasting impact on your life.