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"There’s honestly so much more that you learn when you volunteer with these programs at SFU Surrey – TD CEC. Not only do you grow your skills with your fellow peers, but you also get to grow yourself as an individual."
Preparation
Preparation

Volunteering can seem like a very intimidating thing to get into, especially when you don’t know people, or if you’re unsure about the role, or even when you see more ‘tenured’ members within the community. BUT! You should fear not, especially when it comes to joining our community here at SFU Surrey – TD Community Engagement Centre.

Really, there is nothing you have to worry about but just overcoming the first step of getting yourself to go forward and apply. Once that first step is done, you just go with the flow. We’re sure you can feel more at ease once you hear more about Kiran’s story down below.

During my Experience
Accomplishments and Challenges

Kiran Dhaliwal is one of our Program and Volunteer Supervisors for Racing Readers! She was overseeing the Wednesday Racing Readers program during the fall semester and will be continuing her journey with Racing Readers again in the new year. Kiran comes from a Biological Sciences (BISC) background as she has completed her major and is currently finishing up on her Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology Minor (BPK). Her goal is to continue her studies in grad school and then hopefully onto med school afterwards!

The passionate Kiran had always loved volunteering, hence her journey at SFU Surrey – TD CEC began back in 2018 when she was just a program volunteer for the program. Over the course of her continuous support with Racing Readers, she also simultaneously became a Coordinator for our other programs, Learning Buddies. Gradually, she continued her volunteer services with us over the several semesters and wanted to step forward and have her hand at applying for the Lead Volunteer role with Racing Readers. Thanks to her experience, knowledge, and comfortableness with these programs, she was offered the Program and Volunteer Supervisor role! She shares that she had been grateful for her experience with other programs that led her to this point, where she could challenge herself more in a different position.

Of course some challenges are faced when you enter a new role, and Kiran shared that the struggles she faced in the beginning were only a learning curve for her. With the responsibility of needing to create the curriculum for the youth, have her weekly meetings and supporting her volunteer team, time management was something Kiran overcame fairly shortly. It was only the matter of time when she made sure to have her schedules set through onto of her busy school schedule already and she definitely made it through! Not only has she worked through her challenges, but Kiran also shared how much leadership skills she’s gained, how her public speaking skills have improved, and even becoming more confident with connecting with others. Not only does it benefit towards her journey in the medical field, but she surely feels that she's grown as an individual.

Kiran highlights a lot of her journey volunteering for SFU Surrey – TD CEC as a huge learning opportunity for her. She’s shared that a lot more of her experiences are gained because of these programs that she’s involved in. The rewarding pieces for her are when she sees the growth in not only in her volunteers, but the youth that are in the programs. They all start off shy, not saying much in conversation to the excited shouts, with their videos-turned on, and actively participating in activities.

"It’s really the confidence that you see, that shines through them."

Even with her role as a Program and Volunteer Supervisor is to support the volunteers, create the learning curriculums, and oversee the program, Kiran has shared she enjoys how more hands-on the role is. You get to communicate with others and create a deeper connection with each and every one of them.

Reflection & Tips
Advice for Future Students
What would you share with students who are unsure about volunteering, Kiran?

“Everybody should get involved with SFU Surrey – TD CEC, I just find that you’re so supported and heard in these roles that it really does make a huge difference. You see the projects that these individuals have taken on, it really does make it something so fulfilling to see and experience. So! To anyone who’s considering of volunteering or working for SFU Surrey – TD CEC – get in contact with the members there, see where your interests lie. Make it fall into your values you're passionate about and be ready to LEARN!”

Interested in joining our Racing Readers program? Visit the Student Services volunteer page.


This blog was originally posted on the SFU Surrey-TD Community Engagement Centre website on December 7, 2021.

SFU Student Undergraduate