Skip to main content
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication
SFU Co-op Student

empty
Rachel with students
By choosing to engage in Racing Readers, my confidence has increased and my leadership skills have grown.

Learn about the Racing Readers program, and discover how you can "engage the world" as a volunteer.

“Engage the World.”

This is the SFU tag line. As a first year student who was incredibly worried about what was to become of my university experience, the phrase resonated with me. All I knew was that I wanted to change the world, somehow. At the same time, I was in my first year and I didn’t know very many people at SFU. I was shy, unsure of my capabilities, and quite frankly, had no idea where to begin.

Enter Trisha Dulku, one of the coordinators for Racing Readers. She too wanted to engage the world, and she shared the Racing Readers project with myself and many other first years. I felt excited and intrigued. Everything Trisha had talked about sounded awesome: reading and doing physical activities with kids and meeting new people.

I Was Ready to Engage the World.

Looking back on the past eight months, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience than Racing Readers. The benefits that came out of the program are many for all that took part, both participants and volunteers alike. As a volunteer, I co-led a group of students from grades 3-5 in various physical and literacy activities. I worked with an incredible group of volunteers who made each session enjoyable and easy. My Wednesdays became more than just hump day: it was Racing Readers day! Of course, the most rewarding part of the whole experience was definitely working with the kids. The kids always had bright, smiling faces with tons of energy to get me moving as well. Seeing the progress of the students from week to week always brought me a feeling of happiness, from reading more fluently to running more laps than the week before.

Before long, Racing Readers grew to be more than just an after-school program. The staff at Newton Elementary School in Surrey helped us out significantly by giving us a venue for the program. In particular, staff member Kristine Michaud was always there to give us a helping hand, extra support and words of encouragement. The program quickly grew with more and more students wanting to participate. The biggest surprise that came about during our time in the program was the two month extension that we received! Our program, which originally was supposed to end in April, got extended to June. This gave us more time to spend with the students as well as push them to achieve even more in terms of literacy or physical activity. By the end of it, we were able to establish a community.

My time with Racing Readers helped me to become a more engaged person. By choosing to engage in Racing Readers, my confidence has increased and my leadership skills have grown. My communication and problem solving skills have been sharpened and I have learned the value of team work. This program paved the way for positive, growing relationships with not just Newton Elementary but hopefully many other elementary schools in the Surrey School District. Being able to engage the local community with other members of the SFU community has enabled me to meet other like-minded students and create lasting friendships with many.

I encourage every student at SFU to join Racing Readers in the upcoming year. The program needs students who love to have fun, love working with kids and want to engage their community.  So there you have it – if you want to engage the world and are not sure how, engaging your community is a step in the right direction. Racing Readers wants you!

SFU Co-op Student
Connect with Rachel on LinkedIn and Twitter or visit Rachel's blog.

You Might Like These... Volunteering, Equity, Diversity + Inclusion, Community Engagement

Children playing hopscotch
An SFU student perspective on the Big Sisters Study Buddy program

You may have heard of them–you may even have an idea of what they do. But have you ever thought of being one? Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland has been serving girls in one-to-one mentoring relationships since 1960, with the mission of “enhancing the confidence, self-esteem and well-being of girls through supportive friendships with caring women”. Each Big and Little Sister match gets together once a week for at least one year. 

STC West Coast
Alumnus Profile: How Crystal Kwon Advanced Her Career Through Volunteerism

Students often overlook one important benefit of volunteerism. While students realize that scholarships and bursaries usually require community engagement, they often forget that volunteerism can also give you the edge you need after you finish your degree.

Kyle and volunteers
Kyle Jung: Expand Your Horizons through Volunteering

Did you know that you can make a difference through volunteering, as well as discovering your passions and career goals? These are just some of the benefits of volunteering, according to Kyle Jung, a 5th-year SIAT student who is also the Vice President of Operations, Interactive Arts & Technology Student Union (IATSU) and the SFSS Forum Representative.

You Might Like These... Indigenous Co-op

Audrey standing in front of a vista while hiking
An Interview With Co-op Student Audrey Heath

Casey Cheng, a Co-op student with the SFU Work-integrated Learning (WIL) Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) team, interviews Audrey Heath about her Co-op position with the SFU Indigenous Student Centre (ISC). Casey and Audrey discuss cultural safety, expectations & objectives, and how co-op supports professional and educational development.

Community picture
Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre

The Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre, a non for profit charitable organization, has been meeting the needs of aboriginal people making a transition to the urban Vancouver community since its doors opened in 1963. Read about one 17 year-olds summer experience.

Photo of Anastasiia Lebedenko
Finding Yourself Reflected in World Literature, From Ukraine to Canada

Ukrainian student Anastasiia Lebedenko has long been passionate about literature. So when she decided to pursue post-secondary education in Canada, SFU’s unique undergraduate program in world literature immediately attracted her.

“I did not hesitate even for a second that this was the place I wanted to study. Literature has always been a magnet for me, something that had an incredible ability to capture my attention and change my world with every single book I was reading.”

“Maybe it was destiny,” Anastasiia laughs.