Can you tell me about the SFU Surrey-TD Community Engagement Centre?
The Center was created six years ago to connect the growing South Fraser and Surrey communities with SFU. The SFU Surrey – TD Community Engagement Centre as a place-based entity provides an opportunity for SFU to connect with people and organizations in Surrey in a genuine way through collaboration, the sharing of resources and the co-creation of ideas and solutions to build more resilient communities. Engaging the community in an authentic way, to us, means that we see ourselves as an embedded part of the community.
The SFU Surrey –TD CEC offers programming in partnership with community organizations with a focus on supporting children, youth and newcomers to Canada. We believe in the importance of reflecting the strengths, assets and needs of the community through our programming and engagement with partners. The current focus on supporting children, youth and newcomers to Canada was born out of consistent listening and learning for where we can add value in the community and how we can link benefits back to SFU through student experiential learning, research, and strengthening community partnerships.
The SFU Surrey - TD Community Engagement Centre (SFU CEC) operates with generous funding from the TD Bank Group and works with community organizations to offer and support between 20-25 different programs and events per year reaching over 2500 members of the community and involving around 200 volunteers.
What kinds of projects does the SFU Surrey-TD Community Engagement Centre work on?
One example is the Tutoring, Homework and English Support Program in partnership with Friends of Simon and the Surrey City Centre Library. This program employs high-talent university students to work with local children and youth from newcomer and refugee families in relationship-based learning. The program focuses on building community capacity in literacy and numeracy while providing valuable learning experiences for SFU students. Another example of a project that has shown a lot of promise for early childhood education is the Racing Readers after-school program, which is being offered at two different elementary schools. This program focuses on building literacy, numeracy and physical skills with children in grades 2-5 while providing an opportunity for SFU students to participate in and learn from their community in a meaningful way. The program is now entering into its fifth year.