publication date: Jul 9, 2011
author/source: Janet Gadeski
When you come
across a "top" list - "Top Workplaces in Canada" or "Top Canadian Executives"
or "Top 40 Under 40" - do you scan it looking for nonprofit organizations or
I do. And usually I
find a few - not near the beginning, not in the largest typeface. But for the
most part, those honour rolls are all about corporate leaders. The only lists
where charity leaders predominate seem to be the annual AFP
chapter awards. It's as if the people behind most of the "top"
lists don't truly understand success that doesn't involve making money.
Young "best possible" are nonprofit-oriented
That's why it was
so refreshing to learn about Youth in
's "Top 20 Under 20" awards. It's not specifically a nonprofit
competition, but sets out to "help [young Canadian leaders] become the
best possible role models for their peers, the best possible ambassadors for
Canada and the best possible business, political, social and thought leaders of
the future," according to its organizers.
Yet most of this
year's winners, chosen by a panel of Order of Canada judges for their
innovation, leadership and achievement, are either already active in the
nonprofit sector or passionately committed to innovations that will likely lead
them there in the future.
A dazzling random sample
Nineteen-year-old Ivneet Bains began a mentoring organization that helps young people
with math skills and public speaking. Math4me
now has 16 employees and has helped over 300 students, some of whose grades
have increased by 60%.
Cloutier, also 19, lost her
legs to a car accident at the age of six. The Harvard professor who nominated
her describes her as "one of the most impressive, perhaps the most impressive"
student he's ever taught. By focusing on stem cell research, she aims to
improve the lives of the disabled and those with chronic illnesses.
Cole, age 16, started Kids Against Canadian Hunger to support
food banks, and with his two brothers, launched another organization that's
distributed almost $1 million in school supplies and backpacks to needy
Dhar has already won the
Alberta Premier's Citizenship Award for raising money both for Haitian relief
and for local needy families.
Fultz helped start the
Winnipeg chapter of Oxfam, and
serves as the Prairie regional chair for the national organization.
Eighteen-year-old Corey Cook is an advocate
for an organization working with First Nations youth. A proud graduate of its
programs, he gives the agency credit for helping him stay away from drugs and
gangs, and deal with peer pressure.
Harrington, 17, created The Cross Generational Exchange to
bring youth and seniors together and increase respect for community elders.
This is just a
random sample of the 20 winners. There are 13 more, all impressive, all headed
for continued success in fields as diverse as immunology, social change, health
care, human rights activism and international aid.
One such list of
young Canadian world-changers would be remarkable enough. But YIM recognizes 20
young people of this calibre every year! It finds winners in part by promoting
the competition to the thousands of young people already benefitting from its
local leadership training.
And each year, new
winners affirm that the best and brightest in their generation are already
leading positive change, blazing a hopeful path for Canada's future.
For more information, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.youth-in-motion.ca. Contact Janet at email@example.com; follow her on Twitter, @CFPed.