SFU-led projects

Empowering citizens for a stronger community

January 06, 2023
SFU alumnus Rochelle Prasad credits her involvement with Envision Financial Community Leaders Igniting Change (CLIC) with deepening her interest in civic-mindedness.

Simon Fraser University alumnus Rochelle Prasad’s educational journey has already helped to foster some amazing accomplishments—working for the United Nations, publishing a book, and vying for a seat on Surrey city council in the 2022 fall civic election.

She also credits the deepening of her civic-mindedness to her involvement with Envision Financial Community Leaders Igniting Change, or CLIC, a program offered at SFU’s Surrey campus to help individuals advance as community leaders.

Led by SFU Beedie School of Business university lecturer Kathleen Burke, the 12-week program is designed for local community members—from young adults to seniors—who want to build their leadership capacity and confidence as changemakers and develop innovative ways to benefit the community, from leading cultural and environmental initiatives to hosting civic awareness events.

“The CLIC program really helped me to understand the importance of diversity in leadership positions and provided me with the skills to pursue those positions,” says Prasad, who has just completed her master’s degree in social justice education at the University of Toronto—and now plans to run in the next provincial election.

Prasad is one of more than 100 to “graduate” since the start of the CLIC program, which is currently recruiting for its 10th cohort in January.

“CLIC graduates are invaluable ambassadors for change,” says Burke. “They show how anyone with a desire to help better society can identify and then follow that path, and make that difference.”

They are citizens like Katheren Szabo, whose involvement led her to create a guided forest walk in Newton, a low-income neighborhood block party, and information sessions on how to create community initiatives and apply for funding.

This past summer, participant Maria Koehn led a Rhythm Circle at the July Honeybee festival and at Camp Alex in Crescent Beach in August.

Other former participants like Dacious Richardson, a Surrey youth newcomer safe school liaison worker, apply new practices in their current work.

“Throughout my journey in life, I have always learned the importance of giving back to my community and society,” says Richardson, noting how the CLIC program added more knowledge to his ability and ways of giving. “I can now say that my leadership skills have improved and I am more determined to lead with purpose and courage for others.”

To learn more about CLIC and/or to register for the January 2023 cohort see here.