Canada’s Top Teen Philanthropist Contest
Mackenzie Investments and StudentAwards have selected Abirami Kirubarajan of Mississauga, Ontario as the winner of the sixth annual Canada’s Top Teen Philanthropist contest.
Abirami was awarded $2,500 for personal investment and an additional $5,000 for her volunteer work with Peel Multicultural Council (PMC). For over three years, Abirami has supported PMC’s vision of creating a harmonious multicultural society by increasing communication and building bridges of understanding among various ethno-cultural groups, institutions and the community.
Through her work, she founded the PMC Youth Advisory, which helps immigrated youth integrate into Canadian culture while overcoming the stresses of a new world. This program encourages newly immigrated youth to build self-confidence and make friends, while giving back to the community and honing leadership skills. To date, the program has benefited more than 600 students.
Leah Davidson from Sherbrooke, QC: After a trip to the Antarctic two years ago that changed her perspective on climate change, Leah has volunteered with the Students on Ice Foundation. The organization enables economically disadvantaged youth to tour the Arctic and Antarctic so they can see the firsthand effects of climate change. Leah has also launched Act for Antarctica, a campaign that hopes to educate 1000 students from across the world about Antarctica and undertake a conservation act to fight for its protection by March 2014.
Oksana Kishchuk from Saskatoon, SK: For more than six years, Oksana Kishchuk has aided fundraising and recruitment initiatives and has enhanced awareness for Free the Children, an organization that helps communities in Asia, Africa and Latin America lift themselves out of poverty. Oksana has also raised over $25,000 to support the construction of a boy’s secondary school in Kenya.
Shivani Mysuria from Burnaby, BC: Shivani has dedicated countless hours volunteering on behalf of the Burnaby Task Force on Homelessness. She has worked directly in the community, seeking engagement and support, hosted various fundraising initiatives and started a school club, all to help end homelessness in Burnaby.
Divya Shah from Markham, ON: In 2009, Divya launched the Pencils for Kids (P4K) Markham chapter with the goal of providing underprivileged children in West Africa access to education. With the work of more than 150 members, P4K Markham has raised over $10,000 in cash and school supplies and has built five P4K schools in Niger that have changed the lives of over 350 families and communities.
Vivian Tsang from Vancouver, BC: After working with Covenant House Vancouver, Vivian was inspired to spearhead the Humanitarian Organization for Providing Empowerment (HOPE) with the mission to bridge the gap between vulnerable groups in society and give them practical resources to escape from their troubling circumstances. Through various initiatives, HOPE’s team of 30 has spent 1,000 hours making their school community a more welcoming place for marginalized adolescents.