Friends of Simon, an award-winning SFU Faculty of Education initiative, brings together an attitude of inquiry, our instructional knowledge, and our students, in order to provide tutoring for school-aged children and youth.
Friends of Simon recruits, prepares, and assigns university students as tutors in the Lower Mainland, particularly with newcomer K-12 students. With our cooperating sites, Friends of Simon works to increase school success through after-school programs in small group and individualized settings.
Our mission is summarized by the phrase, Draw Forth All, which combines the Latin root of the word education ("to draw forth") with the moral commitment of Nobel Laureate and SFU honouree, Bishop Desmond Tutu, specifically his call to serve and honour all people.
"Teaching is often seen as the transmission of knowledge, in the manner of filling up empty minds. Education, however, is a process that builds on the prior experience of the learner and evokes new learning through engagement, questioning, and acknowledgment of the individual".
— Paul Shaker, Professor emeritus and former Friends of Simon Director
Community Action Project: COVID-19 Goody Bags
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the youth who worked on this project decided to focus on the rights to safety and healthcare, while also promoting kindness in their community. Through a journey of Zoom brainstorming the youth came up with the idea of making COVID-19 Goody Bags to provide relief to families in need who have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as newcomers and refugees in the community.
A total of 220 Goody Bags were created with two versions: 100 adult bags and 120 child bags.The adult bag contains a reusable mask, a bottle of hand sanitizer, and an Emergen-C (Vitamin C) packet. The children's bag contains a reusable mask, a bottle of hand sanitizer and a small toy.
Within both bags a kind note is also included; each note was written by the youth and was translated into the most commonly spoken languages in the community (Tigrinya, Dari/ Farsi and Arabic).
To get the Goody Bags out to the families which needed them the most, Friends of Simon collaborated with the youth's local Elementary School which hosts a Food Hub program.
“Faith over fear, peace over panic, sharing over selfishness, kindness over and over and over again.”