The Faculty of Education's 12 Days of Giving

Over the years, through the generosity of our Faculty of Education community, we have come together to give back to those in need of our support. This year, we will continue our tradition through the 12 Days of Giving Campaign.

On each day from November 23rd to December 8th we will share ways to give back to the communities around us. You are welcome to participate on any or all of the days throughout the campaign.

And feel free to tag us on social media and share how you are giving back in your community using #SFU12DaysofGiving.

Advent Calendar

Day 1 - Supporting our Lena Shaw Elementary Family

Over the years the Faculty of Education has partnered with the Lena Shaw Elementary School in Surrey to support a family over the holidays. This year, we are sponsoring a family with five members including three boys aged 9 and 11 yrs, and 10 weeks. These kind-hearted and funny boys have attended the school since Kindergarten and rely heavily on the lunch program served daily by the school.

Our donation will not only go towards purchasing food and toys for the children, but it will also go towards providing the essential baby supplies that at present the family is going without.

We hope our generous donation can help bring a little joy, warmth and comfort to this much deserving family.

Day 2 - Supporting Seniors in our Community

Burnaby Community Services - Ways to Support Seniors

The Board of Directors, staff and volunteers at the Burnaby Community Services are committed to delivering their mission to empower people in need by providing a voice, resources and opportunties. They strive to lead change, inspire compassion and care, advocate with and for people, break down barriers, foster resilience, work within communities and embrace an entrepreneurial spirit. By providing these the Burnaby Community Services is helping families and seniors break the cycles of poverty and isolation.

Ways to Get Involved

  • Donate $
  • Deliver Meals on Wheels to seniors
  • Have a meal with seniors - Let’s Do Lunch
  • Become a Seniors Transportation Driver
  • Become an Outreach Volunteer at Welcoming Seniors Spaces
  • Subscribe to their e-newsletter

London Drugs - Stocking Stuffers for Seniors

Stocking Stuffers for Seniors is back for 2020 at all London Drugs locations across Western Canada. This has been a very challenging and different year for all of us, but especially for our seniors. The effects of isolation and loneliness have been significant during the pandemic and we want our seniors to know we care, and we are thinking of them. For the fourth year in a row, Stocking Stuffers for Seniors partners with local care homes and charities with a mission to bring more holiday cheer to seniors, in all the communities we serve.

Your donated items don’t need to be purchased from a London Drugs store — any new, non-gift wrapped item is accepted.

Ways to Get Involved

  • Purchase a wish list item for a senior

Send a Holiday Card or Letter to a Senior in Care 

This year has been especially difficult for many seniors in care as they have been separated from family and friends due to COVID restrictions. While you are writing your regular holiday cards consider writing a few more and sending them to a senior living in care. Note: before sending any cards, we recommend calling the care home to ensure they are receiving cards/letters at this time.

The following care homes in Canada have indicated that they are accepting cards:

Residents & Staff 
Christenson Village
585 Shaw Road
Gibsons, BC  V0N 1V8
Staff and Residents
Our Parent's Home
Attn: Yolanda de Kleer
10112-119 Street
Edmonton, AB T5K 1Y9
CHARTWELL Westmount Retirement Residence
Attn: Stephanie Martinell, Lifestyle Manager
190 David Bergey Drive
Kitchener, ON N2E 0E7
Residents and Staff
Chartwell Oak Park Lasalle
Attn: Sylvia Flanagan
3955 Thirteenth Street
LaSalle, ON  N9H 2S7

Use the button below to search for other seniors care homes in BC.

Day 3 - Supporting BC Children and Youth

Big Brothers/Big Sisters of BC

Many children and youth in Canada struggle with societal barriers and face adversities in their lives. Facing prolonged adversity creates toxic stress in the brain that can negatively impact development. With the support of a mentor, these risks can be reduced or even avoided, and youth can reach their full potential.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada is a Federation comprised of 102 member agencies servicing more than 1,100 communities across the country. Together we mobilize over 20,700 volunteers who in turn mentor 41,400+ children and young people. That works out to nearly 2.1 million volunteer hours each year.

Each Big Brothers Big Sisters agency provides direct service to children by matching volunteers and youths in quality mentoring relationships. Our agency staff members are experts at screening volunteers and matching them with a mentee having similar interests.

Ways to Get Involved

  • Donate $, gifts in kind, cars
  • Become a Big Brother or Big Sister
  • Become a partner
  • Volunteer
  • Refer a little (a child)

HAVAN Coats for Kids Annual Coat Drive

The Homebuilders Association of Vancouver members have been providing drop-off locations for people to donate lightly used and new coats since 1995, in support of the Lower Mainland and Surrey Christmas Bureaus, serving families in need. This year the campaign runs from Monday, November 14 through to Thursday, December 1st, with 48 HAVAN member companies offering 63 drop-off locations across 13 municipalities. More than just keeping a child warm, every coat donated warms the hearts of many people along the way.

Ways to Get Involved

  • Donate a lightly used or new coat

Urban Native Youth Association

Through their programs, the Urban Native Youth Association helps Indigenous youth connect with culture, build confidence and skills, and reach their fullest potential. Their goal is to be a safe place for Indigenous youth to come and find out about programs and services at UNYA and in the broader community. UNYA strives to support Indigenous youth by providing a diverse continuum of advocacy, preventative and support services that respond to their immediate and long-term needs. Today, UNYA delivers 20+ programs, with 175+ volunteers, 100 staff, and more than 300 community partners.

Your contributions make it possible for UNYA to engage more Indigenous youth, provide them with culturally-relevant services and support, and create space for these young people to thrive.

Ways to Get Involved

  • Donate $
  • Volunteer as a mentor in the Mentorship Program
  • Volunteer as a mentor in Kinnections Program

Day 4 - Supporting the Friends of Simon Tutoring Project

Imagine a recently immigrated child, with little or no formal education, placed in a classroom where they're not able to understand others and unable to express themselves. Imagine the anxiety, frustration, or isolation this child might feel.

You have the power to improve that child’s life.

The Friends of Simon program connects empathic, high-achieving SFU students with children and youth needing extra support with language and literacy skills. Friends of Simon program provides a foundation for children to grow and be successful both inside and outside the classroom.

“I believe that everyone is a hero and can save the world. I think it’s in me to help others… If it weren’t for the people that helped us, we wouldn’t be where we are.” - Margaret Anteros, former Friends of Simon student

Day 5 - Supporting Health Organizations and Initiatives

BC Children’s Hospital

BC Children's Hospital (BC Children's) provides expert health care, including mental health care, for the most seriously ill or injured children from across British Columbia. Child development and rehabilitation is provided by Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children, a program of BC Children's.

In addition to providing specialized pediatric services — many of which are not available elsewhere in the province — BC Children's is the province's leading teaching and research facility for child health.

Ways to Get Involved

  • Donate $ or wish list items
  • Become a Child Life Volunteer
  • Become a Therapeutic Dog Volunteer

Canadian Blood Services

Blood, plasma, platelets, stem cells, organs and tissues are a critical part of everyday medical care including major surgeries, medical procedures, cancer treatments and managing diseases.

You could be helping a child being treated for cancer, a mother who has just given birth, or a father about to have heart surgery. Every donation you make matters. It matters to every patient and their loved ones across Canada.

Tomorrow, next week and next month, the need is constant. To ensure that Canadian Blood Services can continue to meet the needs of patients in Canada, they need everyone who is healthy to book and keep their blood donation appointment for weeks and months ahead.

Ways to Get Involved

  • Donate $
  • Donate blood, plasma, stem cells, organs and tissues, core blood
  • Volunteer

Ronald MacDonald House 

When a child is seriously ill, the specialization required for their major medical procedure may only be available far from home. Treatment for illnesses such as leukemia, brain tumours or cystic fibrosis requires lengthy out-of-town hospitalization. Ronald MacDonald House BC & Yukon provides accommodation for these families, so they can be close to their seriously ill children undergoing treatment. The House is a place of comfort, healing, and a home away from home for kids and families from all across BC and Yukon.

Ways to Get Involved

  • Contribute to Holidays at the House: While celebrations look a little different this year, one thing that hasn’t changed is that families with sick kids depend on RMH BC to be their home away from home for the holidays.
  • Donate $ or wish list items
  • Donate items for online auctions

St. Paul's Hospital Foundation

Donations to St. Paul’s Foundation have an impact on every patient, resident, family member and department across St. Paul’s and all other Providence Health Care hospitals and long-term care homes in BC. The Foundation raises funds for enhanced patient care, capital projects, equipment needs, research, teaching and innovation to improve the care of patients and residents.

Their Annual Lights of Hope event has been reimagined as Hope at Home that keeps their time-honoured holiday traditions alive, but adjusted so everyone can celebrate together, while apart.


Ways to Get Involved

  • Donate $
  • Purchase a limited edition Hope at Home star
  • Host a fundraiser
  • Volunteer

Day 6 - Supporting our Burnaby Graduate Student Society Family

Over the years the Faculty of Education has partnered with SFU's Graduate Student Society (GSS) to support a graduate family during the holiday season. This year our GSS Family is a family of 5 with 3 children, age 9, 7, and 5.

The GSS will purchase gift cards for all family members so they can buy something special for the holidays, plus they will receive a SPUD food box full of fresh produce and household products.

Day 7 - Helping Animals

BC Alberta Guide Dogs

The mission of BC & Alberta Guide Dogs is to meet the growing demand for professionally trained Guide Dogs and Autism Support Dogs for citizens of British Columbia and Alberta, and PTSD Service Dogs for citizens of British Columbia. These dogs change the lives of the blind/visually-impaired, individuals with autism and military/RCMP Veterans. It takes two years and upwards of $35,000 to produce one certified dog, provided free of charge to the recipient.  

Ways to Get Involved

  • Donate $
  • Donate auction items, gifts in kind, cars
  • Sponsor a puppy
  • Volunteer - raise a puppy, board an adult dog, provide office support


The mission of the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA) is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in British Columbia.

The BC SPCA is the only animal welfare organization in BC with the authority to enforce animal cruelty laws under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA Act), and is the largest animal welfare organization of their kind in North America and the largest animal sheltering society in the world.

The BC SPCA assists more than 41,806 animals in need every year and are funded by compassionate animal lovers who support their work and partner with them to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in BC.

Ways to Get Involved

  • Donate $, household goods and animal supplies
  • Shop the gift catalogue
  • Apply to be a foster pet-parent
  • Volunteer
  • Participate in animal advocacy
  • Become a member

The Happy Herd Farm Sanctuary

The Happy Herd is a farm animal sanctuary for animals either abused or at risk. On four wonderful acres, you can find the many animals we have rescued roaming freely. They have several goats, chickens, cows, pigs, turkeys, hens, ducks, cats, a couple of dogs, and a wonderful friendly donkey!

Ways to Get Involved

  • Donate $
  • Volunteer to help out on the farm

Wildlife Rescue Association

The Wildlife Rescue Association of BC was established in 1979 to rehabilitate wildlife affected by human activity and provide education to the public on co-existing with urban wildlife. Today, Wildlife Rescue runs its wildlife hospital on the south shore of Burnaby Lake where it treats animals from around the province of British Columbia. With a team of professional wildlife rehabilitators and an army of volunteers they are able to provide temporary refuge to a diverse range of animals. The Wildlife Rescue Associaiton is not a wildlife sanctuary, and once the animals in their care are healthy and ready to live in the wild, they are released back to their natural habitat.

Our public education and outreach includes a wildlife helpline, the EarthFest community festival, year-round nature camps, and hundreds of presentations and displays throughout Metro Vancouver.

Ways to Get Involved

  • Donate $ or wish list items
  • Volunteer
  • Become a member

Day 8 - Supporting the George-Nahanee Family

On November 26, Sasha Nahanee, a member of our Education graduate student community, lost not only her house, but also her parent’s house to a tragic fire. While Sasha and her parents, Rosie and Earl George, are safe, the fire consumed not only their homes full of belongings, but also their cars. Family and friends have come together to set up a GoFundMe page to support Sasha and her parents. We share this page in the hopes that you may also be able to help support this member of our Education community.

Day 9 - Supporting the SFU International Teacher Education Module (ITEM) Award

The International Teacher Education Module (ITEM) offers students the opportunity to study and complete teaching placements with institutional partners.

Currently the Faculty works with partners in Dharamsala, India and Oaxaca, Mexico. During their international placement, students live either with host families or in campus residences. They complete a comprehensive program of in-classroom practicums, instructional seminars as well as language and culture classes.

Help more students experience a once-in-a-lifetime educational opportunity and contribute today.

This award was created in memory of Ian Andrews, a vibrant member of the Faculty of Education community, and his partner, Renate Doege. The award is close to becoming an endowed award. Every donation helps us get closer to offering this award in perpetuity.

Day 10 - Helping Families

Food Banks BC

Every month food banks in BC help more than 80,000 individuals and 1 in every 3 of these is a child. Many people don’t realize that it could be their neighbour or co-worker who needs help from a food bank in BC. Why? Because there is no typical person that turns to a food bank for help.

Food Banks BC represents 100 food banks across the province. They also operate the following programs: Basics for Babies, Feed the Valley, The Full Cupboard Fraser Valley, The Full Cupboard Vancouver Island.

Ways to Get Involved

  • Find a Food Bank near you and donate $
  • Donate $ to Food Banks BC


Since 1972, the ISSofBC has been providing a variety of support services for immigrants and refugees to help them get settled, find careers and learn all they need to know about starting their new lives in Canada. Through their dedicated staff, volunteers and community partners, they provide settlement, education and employment services for over 20,000 clients every year.

Although ISSofBC is today one of the largest immigrant-serving agencies in Canada, with a national and international reputation in the field of migrant issues and services for immigrants and refugees, they have not strayed far from their roots.

Ways to Get Involved

  • Donate $
  • Donate a gift card, car
  • Volunteer
  • Hire newcomers
  • Become a supporting member

Jewish Family Services

For over 80 years, Jewish Family Services (JFS) has been providing opportunities to enhance the quality of life for individuals and families in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.

Founded in 1936, Jewish Family Services (then known as the Jewish Family Welfare Bureau of Vancouver) opened its doors to assist the poor and elderly living in Vancouver, and to help resettle new immigrants fleeing Europe.  

Throughout the years, the Jewish Food Bank has evolved and grown to serve individuals and families of all ages, and they offer a broad array of services and now have four departments to respond to evolving community needs.

Ways to Get Involved

  • Donate $
  • Volunteer
  • Organize a food drive
  • Organize a fundraiser

SHARE Family and Community Services

SHARE exists to connect, engage and strengthen individuals & families. Their programs and services focus on uprooting poverty, improving social well-being and building an inclusive community. Since 1972, they have provided community based programs and services to those in need in the Tri-Cities and surrounding communities.

SHARE’s founder Gertie Grosser started a clothing exchange in her basement to assist young families. Where she saw need, she provided supports. Early programs included a drop in for men and women, a Mother’s Club, a crisis line, a recycling program and food and toys for those in need. As the community grew and changed, so did “SHARE Centre”.

Today, SHARE Family and Community Services Society is a registered charity and one of the largest employers in the Tri-Cities. SHARE staff speak over 25 languages, and they continue to connect, engage and strengthen the ever-changing needs of the communities they serve.

Ways to Get Involved

  • Donate $
  • Volunteer
  • Host a fundraiser
  • Participate in Share Bear Kidz Club (for kids under 16)

Day 11 - Supporting Front Line Workers

7PM Cheer

Show your support to all our front-line and essential service workers, right from your own doorstep, balcony or driveway. The 7PM Cheer started with one lone person showing support and has since grown into a global movement that’s instantly recognizable regardless of nationality or language. 

BC Emergency Health Services

BCEHS provides out-of-hospital and inter-hospital health services throughout BC. Our paramedics in both ground and air ambulances, dispatchers, and staff who arrange inter-facility patient transfers provide valuable services across BC every day. 

The BC Emergency Health Services website allows visitors to submit a thank you message to first responders.

Ways to Get Involved

  • Donate $ to support pre-hospital health care
  • Submit a thank you note

Thank Your Grocery Store Workers

They show up every day to ensure we are able to find what we need for ourselves and our families. Show your appreciation with a card, a wave, or a heart-felt thank. You will surely bring a smile to their face!

Day 12 - Supporting Community

BC/Yukon Canadian Legion

The Royal Canadian Legion/BC Yukon Command is a non-profit organization consisting of 145 Branches, 60 Ladies' Auxiliaries and over 47,000 members. They are one of the foremost and most respected community service organizations in Canada, serving veterans, ex-service personnel, seniors, youth and many aspects of community life. The Legion is guided by three pillars: Remember, Join & Give.

The Legion is a democratic, non-partisan, member based organization that endeavours to make a difference in the lives of Veterans, including military and RCMP members and their families; to support their communities and country, and to always remember the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for Canada.

Ways to Get Involved

  • Donate $
  • Join as a member (everyone is welcome!)
  • Volunteer

Blanket BC Society

Since collecting 67 blankets on their first blanket drive, Blanket BC has grown into an incorporated charity and has been able to distributed over 450,000 blankets to date! Blanket BC is also raising awareness to homelessness and the working poor across our communities.

Blanket BC collects and distributes blankets and warm clothing to shelter programs, families in need, emergency services, First Nations and Indigenous communities. They raise awareness on homelessness, poverty and social economic issues while promoting volunteerism at an early age. 

Ways to Get Involved

  • Donate $
  • Donate clean new/used blankets
  • Volunteer

Buy From a Local Business

Many small, independent local businesses are struggling this year due to COVID restrictions impacting revenue, while many expenses remain the same or have increased (due to new safety measures and equipment).

Consider buying your holiday gifts or regular shopping purchases from a local business near you. Anywhere near you will do!  

Consider Checking Out

Visit a Local Art Gallery, Cultural Centre or Museum

Many arts and cultural organizations across BC have been negatively impacted by COVID and are struggling to keep their doors open now and in future months. Consider using your holidays to visit a local art gallery, cultural centre or museum.

Note: please check with each organization for current operating hours and safety procedures.