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Compassionate FHS graduand engages with children’s health community
This story was originally pubished on SFU News.
By Geron Malbas
Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) Bachelor of Arts graduand Simran Lail discovered a passion for helping people early in her undergraduate degree. Entering FHS in 2016, alongside a minor in gender and women's studies, she chose the BA stream for its focus on social determinants of health and its consideration of community and environmental factors that may contribute to health outcomes. She also mentions a stand-out part of the FHS experience: the supportive community of professors and students.
“Social determinants of health are one of the most essential things I learned from FHS, as it helped me consider all different perspectives and aspects of an individual’s health disparities,” she says. “The students that are within the faculty are extremely supportive, and my professors allowed me to flourish and establish my aspirations.”
Eager to get involved in the community, Lail volunteered with BC Children’s Hospital in her first year leading various methods of play with the Fun Cart service to ease family and patient stress before clinical appointments. This led to her role as a Child Life Specialist Volunteer, thinking of ways to provide play therapy and creating a more comforting hospital environment.
“Whether it was simply dropping a toy off to a patient and their family, or fully engaging and being able to introduce different play methods, that [interaction] would allow for the patient to become comfortable in the hospital environment,” she explains. “Often this would allow for me to build relationships with long-term patients.”
After volunteering with BC Children’s, she fell in love with the rewarding experience of helping others. In 2019, she started as a Behavioural Interventionist with the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development, working with children diagnosed with Autism following a therapy program and implementing interventions customized to each child’s unique needs. In 2021, she volunteered with the City of Surrey’s Youth Development Project, helping to develop a database of free and accessible essential services for City of Surrey workers to share with local and newcomer children and youth who need access assistance. These services cover addiction, counselling, mental health, and more.
The fulfilling experience of bringing joy and comfort to people became an infectious feeling for Lail, drawing her to more opportunities.
“Once I started volunteering at one place, it led me to volunteer at numerous other places to continue helping others and bringing more smiles to their faces,” she explains. “Helping people in my volunteer work made me realize that I want to make a difference in the community on the front-lines. I find having a direct patient-provider relationship to be incredibly rewarding when I see a patient’s progress.”
Looking to the future, she aspires to a career in the medical field that involves helping people. As for advice for her peers, she encourages students to take every opportunity they can to get involved.
“You never know what is going to help guide you to your passions; don’t be afraid to network and speak to professors, who can be great role models and mentors,” She explains. “Even though I was a full-time student, getting involved allowed me to learn more about myself and my passions, things I would have never known before these experiences.”
SFU’s Fall 2021 Convocation will be held Oct. 5-8. It will be the university’s first in-person convocation since 2019. The ceremonies will be webcast on SFU’s YouTube channel for those wanting to join in from home and around the world. For more information about SFU’s Fall 2021 Convocation, visit http://www.sfu.ca/convocation.html. Be share to share your convocation experience on social media by using the #MySFUGrad hashtag.