Building physiotherapy clinics and providing clean water in Kenya. Creating classrooms for girls in Afghanistan and developing clinics in the Masai Mara. These are the types of projects people typically associate with A Better World (ABW).
But ABW doesn’t work solely overseas, noted a release. It also is invested in ‘our own backyard’ as it focuses on developing humanitarian leaders – young people who have the vision and motivation to serve Canada and the world.
To do this, ABW has partnered with the Saruk Centre for Leadership Development (SCLD).
“We are at a time when the world is in dire need of new leaders – leaders of moral integrity, sound purpose, and clear vision,” said SCLD founder Elvin Saruk states.
The Centre invests in the next generation, people capable of becoming remarkable leaders for their local community, their country, and the world.”
The Saruk Centre, with its mission of developing ‘effective leaders by enhancing life skills, inspiring values through service, and expanding leadership abilities through instruction, experience, and mentorship,’ conducts a three-year program in Leadership Development.
On Sept. 22-24, 30 undergraduate students from Burman University and Red Deer Polytechnic participated in the first weekend seminar of the 2022-2023 academic year.
They interacted with Saruk (senior VP, Sherritt International Corp), ABW co-founder Eric Rajah (owner, Advanced Systems), board members from SCLD and ABW, and special speakers.
Future leaders explored concepts of leadership, vision, and motivation with Dan Wilson (corporate lawyer, business executive, and entrepreneur), Kelvin Hill (dentist and SCLC board member), and Kent Hehr (lawyer, former MLA and MP, VP Strategic Partnerships and Growth for Fueling Brains).
Students learned about building an effective, accountable team from Scott Sankey (investor and finance leader); they practiced team building under the guidance of Ron Schafer (associate professor of physical education, Burman University); and they learned how to become more effective leaders by becoming aware of and honing their social and emotional skills with Delicia Adams (registered counseling therapist).
Participants mentioned how much they appreciated the ‘humility,’ and ‘genuine care’ of the board members and special presenters.
One student noted, “I felt like I was surrounded by people who genuinely want me to be successful in my work and in my personal development. I look forward to applying what I’ve learned in my daily life.”
Students also received a book from Gail Misek (educator and fundraiser), and participated in a Gallop Strength Finder Survey that revealed their personal strengths.
They also explored the importance of time management and mentorship. One participant commented, “The weekend felt like a community because everyone was so involved and committed to learn.”
Participants commented that they liked, “The story-telling and life experiences that the speakers shared.”
They also felt that their eyes were opened when they realized that there are many different perspectives and techniques to being successful.
It was an opportunity for service. On Saturday morning, the group visited the Red Deer Food Bank to pack food hampers. Mitch Thompson, director of the food bank, was overwhelmed.
“These 30 students accomplished as much in three hours as our regular volunteers would have done in three weeks. I’m so thankful. This was an incredible act of service for the people of Red Deer.”
One future leader summed up the weekend with these words, “The weekend was incredibly influential. I learned both leadership skills and life skills—takeaways that will influence my life and the lives of those around me. I am beyond grateful for this opportunity and experience.”