Skip to main content
Arts + Social Sciences › Psychology
SFU Alumni & OLC Contributor

empty
friends standing together having a good time
Credit
unsplash.com
By increasing understanding about disabilities and their effect on peoples’ lives, those with and without disabilities can work together to ensure a fair and just society.

If we want to really get to know a certain group, we have to spend time with that group to fully understand their needs, struggles and wants. For example, working with people with disabilities can allow you to understand more about their experiences, as well as debunk myths and misconceptions. 

Opportunities to work with people with disabilities are varied, including experiences such as tutoring or mentoring for individuals with learning disabilities, fundraising or advocating for accommodating needs or assisting others to access activities like outdoor recreation and nature exploration.

Here are some unique and engaging opportunities you can explore.

Paddleboarding is one of the fastest-growing water sports in the world and is reportedly one of the fastest-growing sports for people with disabilities. Accessible Paddleboarding has modified paddleboards designed for wheelchair use with a surf chair that locks in place.

The Disabled Sailing Association, located at Jericho Beach in Vancouver, helps people with disabilities to sail. Sailing in specially designed boats has allowed people with physical disabilities a level of freedom, independence and inclusivity, and has allowed them to compete directly against able-bodied participants.

 Another opportunity is to help people with disabilities go hiking with the ‘TrailRider’, a specially designed wilderness access vehicle that can help transport people with disabilities if given assistance by a volunteer. This and more wilderness recreation opportunities can be accessed through the British Columbia Mobility Opportunities Society. 

There are volunteer opportunities with people with developmental disabilities and neurological disorders, like Minds in Motion. The program blends physical exercise with games and activities for those with “early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia to enjoy with a friend or family member”.

You don’t even have to leave campus to volunteer with those with disabilities. The Autism Mentorship Initiative, run by the Centre for Students with Disabilities, is a program that pairs volunteer mentors with students with Autism. You can help another student succeed in university by increasing their “sense of inclusion in the academic and campus community” while getting to know the experiences of students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

There needs to be a better understanding between people with disabilities and nondisabled people, and nondisabled people can realize so many things when they start volunteering for and with people with disabilities. By increasing understanding about disabilities and their effect on peoples’ lives, those with and without disabilities can work together to ensure a fair and just society.

SFU Alumni & OLC Contributor
Jien Hilario is an SFU Psychology alumna. She has written multiple articles about volunteerism, rights, abilities and disabilities and is passionate about sharing her story about personal and professional development.

You Might Like These... Volunteering, Sustainability

Iceberg Melting
What’s Your Cause? Polar Regions, Climate Change, Cultural Awareness, New Immigrant

Over the course of the past semester, SFU Volunteer Services set out to learn what causes motivate SFU students to get involved in their communities–either on campus or beyond. We collected information through the ENGAGE blog and want to highlight some now in hopes of inspiring others to think about what their cause is and how they can contribute!

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. 

Mubnii smiling with her hands in an open position, in front of an aquarium
Health Sciences Student Profile: Mubnii Morshed

Heath Sciences offer students one of the most comprehensive and diverse programs, focusing on everything from epidemiology, molecular biology to political science anthropology. These days, there are many volunteer opportunities associated with the Health Sciences.

You Might Like These... Communication

Two girls kicking around a soccer ball on a soccer field.
Reasons Why You Should Join the SFU Recreation Promotions Team

Helping out the SFU Recreation team can come in many different forms! Read as Aleisha, a Promotions Assistant at SFU Rec, tells us about her role and why Promotions is a great team to partner with.

a individual presenting in front of their team
From Volunteer to Manager

Natalie has lots of experience volunteering, but now she's managing volunteers for the first time. Read how she applied lessons she learned from former managers to make the transition with the SFU Food Bank.

Sparkler
Ten Reasons to Make Getting ENGAGED Your New Year’s Resolution

Need a reason to volunteer? Lauren has 10 of them in her hilarious yet informative article! Read on to see why you should start getting engaged in your community today!