Amal Javed Abdullah (right) and her younger sister, Sarah, have both been involved in SFU Surrey Envision Financial Community Leaders Igniting Change, or CLIC. (submitted photo)

Amal Javed Abdullah (right) and her younger sister, Sarah, have both been involved in SFU Surrey Envision Financial Community Leaders Igniting Change, or CLIC. (submitted photo)

‘So rewarding’: CLIC grad touts program seeking future community leaders in Surrey

Those who run CLIC aim to have more than 100 alumni giving back to their community

Things are starting to CLIC for Amal Javed Abdullah.

The Surrey resident is a graduate of Community Leaders Igniting Change, or CLIC, a program that aims to inspire civic-mindedness.

At the start of her SFU studies, Abdullah’s desire to make a difference in Surrey led her to CLIC, and time there helped set her on a path of community involvement that will continue beyond her graduation this month.

Amal is among nearly 90 graduates of the leadership program, which will soon be accepting applicants for its eighth cohort, to be offered virtually in January 2021.

During 12 weekly sessions, CLIC participants – from 16 years of age to retirees – learn to become community leaders. Sessions include workshops, guest speakers and project proposals that participants present to the group.

• RELATED STORY, from January 2018: South Surrey self advocate driven to ignite change.

With this next cohort, those who run the program aim to have more than 100 alumni giving back to their community.

Abdullah participated in the third cohort of CLIC, which is backed by Simon Fraser University and Envision Financial.

“It was important to me to get involved beyond my studies and I enrolled in CLIC right at the start,” says Abdullah, who has completed a bachelor of arts degree in French and sustainable development. She also participated in SFU’s Health Change Lab in Surrey and earned a Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

CLIC is designed to attract participants who are active in making positive change in their community, or wish to be.

For her project, Abdullah and friends set up a panel and seminar on the Canadian-Muslim narrative, focusing on identity and representation for Muslim youth. Her sister Sarah, while still in Grade 10, was also inspired to participate in CLIC, leading a project to empower a group of Surrey high school students to host their own community events.

Abdullah has also been a staff member of Surrey-based Solid State Community Industries, an initiative that builds worker co-operatives with youth from newcomer or migrant families. Youth gain training and leadership skills toward long-term economic self-reliance.

• RELATED STORY: Surrey students learn the ins and outs of business through workers’ co-operative.

She continues to work with Solid State, which has since expanded and is mentoring more than 50 local youths, and hopes to stay involved after graduating.

“It’s so rewarding to be involved, especially when you see others become empowered,” Abdullah says.

Kathleen Burke, CLIC director and university lecturer, calls Abdullah’s community commitment an inspiration.

“CLIC attracts community-minded people of all ages, but it’s especially fulfilling to see young people so passionate about creating a better world for those around them,” Burke said. “CLIC graduates like Amal are amazing ambassadors for change. They show how anyone with a desire to help better society can identify and then follow that path, and make that difference.”

For CLIC program details, visit surreyprc.ca/community-leaders-igniting-change.