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Unique course fosters grassroots community building

“I’m grateful for this learning opportunity. I’m taking everything I learned and continuing to move forward in my life and my work.”

There’s a classroom at SFU where the students range in age from 16 to 69, and they all have one thing in common: passion.

The group is made up of women and men from Surrey taking part in a unique 12-week course called Community Leaders Igniting Change (CLIC), funded by Envision Financial. They began the program with an idea to improve their neighbourhood and when they finish, they’ll have the skills needed to make their vision a reality.

Kyla Bains once lived on the streets as a high-risk teen and is now dedicated to advocating for those who are struggling. She completed the course last year. “I’m passionate about improving resources for homeless youth, and having our youth’s voices heard,” says Kyla. “I joined CLIC to learn how I could use my experience to gain more support within my community.”

The curriculum is rolled out in weekly classes at SFU’s Surrey campus and includes concepts like inclusion, compassion, strategizing, relationship building, engagement and critical thinking. Students hear from guest speakers including community leaders, city officials, content experts and their fellow students throughout the program.

“The environment was open and collaborative, which was nerve-wracking for me,” shares Kyla. “But once I got more involved, my confidence grew and I learned that I can be a person who leads change.”

Kyla works for the Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association and was organizing their first-ever gala fundraiser while participating in CLIC. “The timing was perfect, I learned about grant-writing, sponsorships, networking and – most importantly – about never giving up,” enthuses Kyla. “The event was a success and it feels so good to know that I helped make that happen!”

Thank you to Envision Financial and all of our donors who give generously to enhance the health and well-being of our communities.