July, 2020

The young achievers

Recently out of close to 100 nominations, the Surrey Board of Trade profiled Surrey’s Top 25 under 25 Award Winners. The winners were chosen based upon their business or community achievements, leadership ability, community involvement, professional achievements and uniqueness of their business or community projects.

“To hear the winners speak of their journey in the community and entrepreneurial work represents an ongoing transformative shift of our perception of youth. We have amazing youth in Surrey,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.

Desi Today congratulates all the winners for their wonderful achievement. Here is the list of Young South Asians who are making their community proud.

Beenu Bajwa

age : 21 YRS

OrgGanization : Unified 4 Change

Beenu is a full-time science student at UBC and the co-founder of a non-profit organization called Unified 4 Change, which is aimed at tackling homelessness within the city of Surrey. U4C’s initiative include organizing activities and workshops for the residents of local homeless shelters to help them learn about computer literacy, interview skills, resume development and mental health. Within just a few years, Unified 4 Change has attracted over 450 members from elementary schools, high schools, and post-secondary institutes all across Canada. Beenu is also serving as the president for UBC’s Young Women in Science and Engineering Club for the second year in a row. Young WISE is a club of women who are dedicated to inspiring women to further pursue their desired career goals. In addition, Beenu also took part in the Miss BC 2017 pageant in which she won the title of Miss Greater Vancouver BC 2017-2018, and lead her to claim the title of Miss Canada 2018 First Runner up.

Prabh Dhillon

age : 22 YRS

Organization: Students for Humanity

Prabh is the Founder and President of Students for Humanity; a non-profit student organization/club based at Simon Fraser University. The humanitarian organization was founded early in January 2017 with the intention of creating an inclusive and discrimination-free environment that allows people and students of all backgrounds to connect, build a bond, and to work together towards a common goal of helping others. The organization aims to address numerous social and health issues within the community through fundraising, activism, health promotion, and raising awareness for varying issues of interest. The organization has focused on initiatives such as assisting those living with HIV/AIDS in partnership with AIDS Vancouver, promoting the need for blood donations in partnership with Canadian Blood Services, and is currently working on holding a fundraiser for Parkinson’s Society British Columbia. Prabh is also a volunteer at the Surrey Memorial Hospital in the emergency department where he provides support to patients, visitors, and staff. Here he has learned empathy and how to communicate with, and support those going through a difficult time.

Talvir Sahota

age : 21 YRS

Organization: Kids Play Youth Foundation

At 21 years of age, Talvir became a police officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. His endless love for his community led him to become one of the youngest recruits for the RCMP. While attending high school, Talvir began volunteering his time and in 2015 he became the lead volunteer for the nonprofit organization, Kids Play Youth Foundation. His dedication and commitment has helped the organization serve over 40 000 youth in the Lower Mainland. Talvir has run over 40 programs benefiting more than 40,000 kids in the Lower Mainland and has become a role model for youth in the community. He is a strong believer that use of sports and education is a great way to combat Gang violence and drug use and commits his time to mentoring youth into having a healthy balance of sports and recreation in their lives.

Jasanjeet Rai

age : 23 YRS

Organization: Kids Play Youth Foundation

After endless hours of dedication to the community Jasanjeet he was appointed on the Board of Directors for Kids Play to oversee over 400 members and volunteers. Kids Play is an organization focused on providing opportunities for the youth in the community to steer them away from gangs and drugs and towards sports and community projects. Members from local law enforcement agencies and leaders from the local community have started to support Jessy’s efforts. Rai held three major events this year which attracted over 2000 participants in total, with over 1,000 participants predicted to attend his next major event mid-May. Jessy is also a private in the Canadian Armed Forces whereby he serves as an armoured crewman. He attests that the military has presented him with the most difficult and exciting challenges in his life. In the long term, Jessy aspires to work with the municipal government of the City of Surrey as an elected councillor or mayor one day.

Harjot Bal

age : 15 YRS

ORGanization : One Blood for Life Foundation /

Project Blue Hands Society

Harjot currently serves as the Director of Internal Operations with the One Blood for Life Foundation (OBFL) and Youth Program Leader with Project Blue Hands Society. OBFL is a well-known non-profit organization in the lower mainland founded in 2016, and their goal is to spread awareness about blood donation and the international stem cell registry. As of today, they have over 380 volunteers and have collected over 1400 blood donations and added 700 new registrants to the international stem cell registry. OBFL currently oversees various programs which include running mobile blood donor clinics and leading stem cell events to increase ethnic diversity of the stem cell registry. Project Blue Hands is a non-profit organization whose goal is to help out those who are less fortunate by providing them with basic needs such as warm meals, clothing and hygienic products and has made momentous strides toward their goal. Project Blue Hands and OBFL have had a tremendous response with hundreds of volunteers, which is thanks mostly to Harjot’s great efforts.

Rabiah Dhaliwal

age : 18 YRS

Org: One Blood for Life Foundation

Rabiah Dhaliwal serves as the Vice President of the One Blood for Life Foundation. The organization, in partnership with the Canadian Blood Services, aims to tackle the high demand of blood and stem cells through a plethora of humanitarian mediums such as donor recruiting, hosting clinics, and raising awareness through educational events. Having been involved with the organization since its early beginnings, she has aided in transforming it into an effective community-based platform for the avocation of blood and stem cell donations through efforts such as tirelessly recruiting over 350 volunteers and numerous donors. Rabiah has played a pivotal role in planning and leading projects such as the organization’s largest stem cell and blood donor recruitment event that took place over the summer during the Miri Piri Nagar Kirtan and targeted increasing the ethnic diversity of the national stem cell registry and educating across cultural barriers. In addition to events put on throughout the year, the One Blood for Life Foundation has been continuously working towards raising awareness of the dire need for blood donors over the past two holiday seasons through the “It’s Time to Give” campaign. During the campaign, Rabiah was interviewed on CBC television news in regards to how her leadership and commitment has contributed to raising donor numbers and the successful promotion of local clinics.

Ramanjot Kingra

age : 22 YRS

Organization: SOAR Philanthropic Society

Ramanjot Kingra is the Director of External Affairs with SOAR Philanthropic Society, where she oversees all communication and support with community groups and partners of the organization. She sits on the Board of Directors, strategizing the organization’s long-term plans and also analyzing on how to support local youth with scholarship funds. SOAR has given over $50,000 in scholarship funds to low socioeconomic local youth that plan on attending post-secondary to purse an education. She has led multiple projects with SOAR as well, including the SOAR Summit, which became a large successful leadership conference that is now in partnership with Simon Fraser University. This one-day conference takes place at SFU Surrey, where hundreds of local students attend to meet and be inspired by local entrepreneurs, professionals, and community leaders. She has led many other projects as well with SOAR Philanthropic Society, a key organization in the local community for providing scholarships.

Vivesh Kochher

age : 21 YRS

Organization: PVR Drywall Recycling Ltd.

Vivesh is the CEO/Founder of PVR Drywall Recycling, a drywall recycling plant that ensures drywall is disposed correctly. Predicted to be the second largest drywall recycling company in all of Canada and the first one in Surrey, the goal of PVR Drywall Recycling is to provide the Lower Mainland with a better way to recycle drywall so that it is not left in the environment. In the future, Vivesh plans to recycle the paper obtained from the drywall to cardboard manufacturers, increasing the awareness and importance of proper recycling in the construction industry. Vivesh has been in the building industry for the past 3 years, currently managing a residential and commercial electrical and low voltage company (Boss Electrics), a development company focused on residential development projects around Metro Vancouver (Cranex Development Ltd.), and an international import and export company for stones, tiles, pavers, and other building supplies (All Star Stones and Building Materials). Vivesh’s most recent professional achievement has been getting Surrey’s first drywall recycling plant approved from Metro Vancouver. PVR Drywall Recycling will be located on Surrey’s port with 14,000 sqft. Industrial space.

Gurneet Dhatt

age : 22 YRS

Organization : Fast Lane Traffic Management Ltd.

Gurneet is Founder and CEO of Fast Lane Traffic Management Ltd., a company specializing in providing traffic control services (flagging), traffic management plans, traffic equipment rentals and traffic control person training to a diverse clientele. After seeing an unfulfilled need for traffic services in the construction and paving industries, Gurneet began Fast Lane in March 2017 to address this shortage in providers. Since its inception, Fast Lane has been able to work with the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre, private paving and construction companies in Surrey and across the Lower Mainland, and with several municipalities including Coquitlam, Delta, and Burnaby. The company has also been working with the Federal Government of Canada on projects in Mission and Agassiz. Since its establishment last year, Fast Lane has made over 1 million in sales and has 25 employees. The company is currently preparing for the grand opening of its new offices, where Gurneet and her team hope to double sales and grow Fast Lane to over 50 employees by year’s end.

Shilpa Narayan

age : 22 YRS

Organization: How a Struggle Became a Journey: Connection & Conversation for Mental Health

Shilpa is a 22-year-old Gender, Sexuality, Women Studies student at Simon Fraser University. At the age of 12, she was diagnosed with depression and generalized anxiety disorder. In the face of tremendous adversity, Shilpa not only persevered, she excelled. The support of teachers and counselors allowed her to see that stigma should not get in the way of taking care of her mental health. Instead of calling her depression and anxiety a “struggle”, she began to call it “her journey.” Shilpa now creates mental health and wellness workshops and courses for high schools, elementary schools, non-profit organizations, companies, and develops support groups for students, teachers, social workers, corporate employees and at-risk people around the province. Shilpa has been awarded the Lorne Fraser Bursary from the Canadian Mental Health Association for the workshops and programs she has created for child and youth mental health. She has also been awarded the Rosemary Brown Undergraduate Award for Social Justice, from the United Nations Association of Canada for her dedicated work in the field of social justice and mental health.

Rochelle Prasad

age : 19 YRS

Organization: Camp We Empower

Rochelle Prasad has been volunteering and taking action for a better world since a young age. She was recently recognized for her global voluntarism efforts in Ecuador and Kenya, with the 2017 Soroptimist International Women’s award, and the 2018 Canada 150 awards in Leadership. Rochelle has co-founded two organizations: the Surrey Youth Safety Council, and Surrey Team for Youth Leadership and Engagement. She is also currently in the process of founding Camp We Empower, which is a leadership camp aimed to empower the next generation, through giving students in grades eight to twelve the tools needed in order to thrive in our community; while making a positive difference. During this three-day, two-night camp, students are geared to participate in life-skills building workshops, hear from community guest speakers, and be partnered with a mentor. Camp We Empower believes that change does truly start with us, and we need to inspire ourselves to empower the next generation. This camp has been running for four years and has positively impacted the lives of hundreds of teenagers.

Harleen Jagpal

age : 24 YRS

Organization: Cambridge Doors Ltd.

Harleen is the founder of Cambridge Doors Ltd. – a new brand based off the generational transition of a 25-year-old family company. She has used her entrepreneurial skills and business mind-set to create a strong brand that focuses on quality, professionalism and service. The company serves reputable builders and the construction industry throughout the lower mainland. At 24 years of age she leads a workforce of 15+ employees and is involved in daily operations, from office to warehouse, and has contributed to the steady growth of the business. In addition to running Cambridge Doors Ltd., Harleen organizes fundraising events for the Cancer Society of BC and is currently working with Fraser Health to help set up a Clinical Prevention Program for South Asians in the Surrey community and is also a member of the Women in Business team for the Surrey Board of Trade. Harleen earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, from the Beedie School of Business in 2016 and is currently enrolled in the Diploma in Accounting and Diploma in Urban Land Economics at the UBC.

Chirag Patel

age : 23 YRS

Organization: SOAR Philanthropic Society

Chirag Patel currently serves as the Director of Finance for a registered non-profit organization that started in Surrey, SOAR Philanthropic Society. After he realized many students are in need of financial assistance he joined SOAR where he can provide scholarships to graduating high school students and raise awareness for the importance of education. He oversees all managers and specialists in every region of the Lower Mainland. His organization has been providing thousands of dollars to Surrey high school students to attend post-secondary. In addition, Chirag is also running his own janitorial services business, Lower Mainland Building Maintenance, which operates across the Lower Mainland. Chirag Patel was admitted to the Beedie School of Business in 2013. For his achievements the business faculty at SFU honoured him with the $20,000 Lloyd-Carr Harris Foundation entrance scholarship. Chirag just recently completed his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the Beedie School of Business in 2017 and is now employed by the accounting firm of PwC as he pursues his CPA.

Arman Turna

age : 16 YRS

Organization: Global Cure Foundation

Arman is the Co-Chair of Global Cure Foundation, a registered non-profit organization dedicated to raising money for healthcare. This charity is aimed at providing proper healthcare for everyone without discrimination and to combat the varying disparities within the medical system. Global Cure Foundation is also teaching the youth volunteers, staff, and directors transferable skills for their future. Arman is among a team of three executive directors, eight directors and thirty staff members whose work has branched out to various schools in the lower mainland, including North Surrey Secondary, Fraser Heights and LA Matheson. Arman and the executive team gives each of these school the freedom to establish their own executives, create fundraisers and manage meetings. The only requirement is for the President of each school club to report their work on a monthly basis to ensure every school’s club is functioning well. Within 6 months, Global Cure Foundation has held approximately 20 fundraisers both in-school and in the community. They have raised thousands of dollars for BC Children’s Hospital and a foreign hospital that they will choose based on financial need. To learn more about Global Cure Foundation, please visit http://www.globalcure.ca/about.html.

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