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Meet Surrey’s ‘Top 25 Under 25’ award winners

Eighth annual award reception to be held on April 26
Award winners at the 2017 edition of “Surrey’s Top 25 Under 25” gathering. This year’s event will be held on Thursday, April 26 at Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel. (submitted photo: Surrey Board of Trade)

*This story has been updated

Winners have been announced in Surrey’s “Top 25 Under 25” awards event, held Thursday (April 26) at Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel.

The eighth annual reception celebrates “the incredible initiatives of Surrey’s youth 25 years old or younger.”

The 25 winners were chosen based upon their business or community achievements, leadership ability, community involvement, professional achievements and uniqueness of their business or community projects.

The Now-Leader is among sponsors of the event.

The award winners are listed below in alphabetical order, with biographies submitted by Surrey Board of Trade:

Name: Beenu Bajwa

Organization: Unified 4 Change

Age: 21

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.

Name: Harjot Bal

Organization: One Blood for Life Foundation / Project Blue Hands Society

Age: 15

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.

Name: Tyler Carmont

Organization: In-Need No-More

Age: 24

Tyler is the co-founder of ‘In-Need No-More’, which is a social enterprise started by three entrepreneurial students after discovering BC’s child poverty rate of 1-in-5 for the past 20 years. Through research and development, it was determined that school supply packages, purchased through the sponsorship of local businesses, could help support students in need while bridging the gap for businesses that wanted to be involved in the community. Through this venture, INNM was able to support approximately 500 students in the Lower Mainland with packages in the fall of 2017. A partnership with Staples was secured and relationships were developed with many members of the community. Though this program, Tyler has been able to match businesses with schools based on proximity and recognize the efforts of those involved through their social media channels, which has had over 20,000-page views.

Name: Larissa Chen

Organization: Böues

Age: 22

Larissa is a recent graduate of Simon Fraser University and the co-founder of Böues, a personal care brand that promotes healthy aging and environmental sustainability. By upcycling leftover beeswax and raw honey from a Surrey-based bee farm, Böues creates all-natural and local products that’s sold at BCB Honey Farm, SFU Bookstores and farmers markets in Vancouver and Surrey. This initiative aims to raise awareness of health-conscious hygiene practices and the importance of BC bees upon our ecosystem, and replacing body care products that contain unnecessary chemicals, single-purpose usage and excessive packaging. She is also the Purchasing & Inventory Manager at Virogin Biotech, an oncolytic cancer research facility, and has introduced new sustainable practices that have successfully reduced the biomedical and packaging waste. In conjunction with the UBC, Virogin Biotech has met success in eradicating cancerous tumors in the animal testing phase and are now advancing towards the clinical trial phase. In her spare time, she works in community engagement and developing communications and digital marketing plans for local businesses and organizations.

Name: Cody de Leijer

Organization: Enactus, Simon Fraser University

Age: 20

Cody has successfully managed to find a consistent balance between business, community involvement and his school work. He is the current President of Enactus SFU, leading over 145 SFU students in using business to create a positive impact on the world. For his work with Enactus, Cody was selected as one of three students from across the world to speak to the Enactus Worldwide Board of Directors in London, England at the Enactus World Cup in October of 2017. In addition to his role with Enactus, Cody works for SFU Innovates, Radius SFU and Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection where he advocates for changemaking, and entrepreneurship opportunities across campus. In his spare time, he follows his passion of officiating hockey where he has been recognized with numerous awards and he also volunteers his time with the Youth Entrepreneurship Learning Launchpad (YELL) program where he mentors a team of high school students in the development of their business. Cody has managed to stay involved in his community while maintaining a 3.68 CGPA across his three years of studies at Simon Fraser University.

Name: Annie Deng

Organization: Social Diversity for Children Foundation

Age: 18

Social Diversity for Children Foundation (SDC) is a predominantly youth-run charity that works to empower children with disabilities, through therapy programs and raising awareness about disability justice. SDC was founded in 2010 by a group of high school students in Richmond and has now expanded to an international organization in the USA, China, Dubai, and Canada, with over 1000 volunteers. Annie serves as the CEO of the executive team in Canada, managing HQ members from nine different schools to run the majority of SDC Canada’s operations—including high school programs, Youth Training Workshops, and annual events. SDC’s core programs are its art and music therapy programs for children with disabilities (Education Through Creativity and Building Bridges with Music). In these programs, high school volunteers are paired one-on-one with the participants as “buddies” and help them through the professionally run therapy programs. The participants then build social skills and friendships with their peers, and high school students learn about disability justice firsthand. Annie’s goal when she was first hired as CEO was to expand the programs to her home city of Surrey. Over her two years, she and her team have raised over $12,000 to start six new programs, in Burnaby, Richmond, Vancouver, and Surrey.

Name: Rabiah Dhaliwal

Organization: One Blood for Life Foundation

Age: 18

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.

Name: Gurneet Dhatt

Organization: Fast Lane Traffic Management Ltd.

Age: 22

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.

Name: Prabh Dhillon

Organization: Students for Humanity

Age: 22

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.

Name: Stefanie Huffman

Organization: Axis Consulting / Enactus, Simon fraser University

Age: 21

As the Program Manager of Axis Consulting this year, Stefanie has led over 25 students to volunteer over 8,000 volunteer hours while consulting for 14 non-profits and having an impact on over 9,600 individuals across BC. Axis Consulting is a student-run organization that provides pro-bono services for non-profit organizations. The goal is to help businesses grow so they can increase their environmental, social, and economic impact in the community. In the last three years, Stefanie has also played a prominent leadership role in two other projects at Enactus SFU. Through Hunger Actions, Stefanie led weekly workshops to help 40 mothers gain financial literacy through nutritious meal planning, empowering them to collectively save over $40,000. Seeing these results motivated her to create a new social enterprise called Refresh, where she developed a line of fruit jams made entirely from blemished fruits that would otherwise be thrown away. Stefanie’s initial product line is still being sold by Refresh today, diverting food waste from landfills and employing at-risk individuals in the community.

Name: Harleen Jagpal

Organization: Cambridge Doors Ltd.

Age: 24

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 University of British Columbia.

Name: Tony Jure Vukasovic

Organization: Smart Parks Canada

Age: 23

Tony is a co-founder of Smart Parks Canada (SPC), a cloud-based analytics platform that allows municipalities to monitor facility and park usage through proprietary, and off-the-shelf sensors. City managers who need transparency in how Parks and Recreation facilities are being used can gain key decision-making insights needed to optimize operations, be more efficient with their budget, and meet energy efficiency goals. SPC’s long lasting sensors allow for independence from a facility’s power grid which enables easier, and faster installations. SPC is trialling their technology with the City of Surrey and is currently entering a second stage of prototyping. Tony has also appeared on panels for SFU’s Technology Entrepreneurship program where he shared his experience with aspiring youth entrepreneurs. He recently mentored two teams for the 2018 Startup Hacks hackathon hosted by SFU Innovates, Hackhub, and VentureLabs. Those two teams are now finalists in that competition. Tony is in his final year at the Beedie School of Business, SFU. His passion for technology and innovation drove him to pursue concentrations in Management Information Systems and Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

Name: Ramanjot Kingra

Organization: SOAR Philanthropic Society

Age: 22

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.

Name: Vivesh Kochher

Organization: PVR Drywall Recycling Ltd.

Age: 21

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.

Name: Brady Lumsden

Organization: Weekend Fuelbag

Age: 17

In 2016, Brady and his cousins, realized a mutual friend was hungry. This friend was part of the breakfast and lunch program at his school but faced bare cupboards every weekend. The cousins wanted to do something and tried to find a program to help. When they realized none existed, they created Weekend Fuelbag. This charity, of which Brady is now CEO, provides large bags of food for middle and high school students-in-need to take home every weekend. The bags contain two breakfasts, two lunches, fruit, bread and snacks. To begin this program, the cousins canvassed grocery stores for donations and each bag had a cost of $5. To date, Brady has raised over $60,000 and feeds 80 students across the Langley School District every weekend. Due to Brady’s ability to network with the business community, he is now able to spend over $10 per bag, providing healthy and nutritious food. Brady’s goal is to expand his program into Surrey and has already started with Fleetwood Park Secondary.

Name: Shilpa Narayan

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

Age: 22

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.

Name: Dorothy Ng

Organization: Enactus, Simon Fraser University

Age: 22

Dorothy is a driven and passionate student leader who has paired her student involvement with professional experience. She was awarded the Shrum Major Entrance Scholarship valued at $24,000. Her dedication to her school work and extracurricular activities saw her receive an 8-month product management internship at Blackberry where she oversaw feature definition, development, and delivery for three mobile applications across four operating systems. She has also accepted a role as an Amplify Business Analyst at the Royal Bank of Canada which is a highly competitive, intensive summer innovation program. Dorothy also competed at the McKinsey Challenge. She was recruited from pool of top students in Lower Mainland to compete in a 2-day case competition where she developed a two-prong strategy for an accounting firm to minimize their churn rate. She is currently the Project Manager at Axis Consulting, a subsidiary of Enactus SFU, which is a student-run consulting program that provides pro-bono (free) consulting services for non-profit organizations and social enterprises that positively impact the local community socially, economically, and or environmentally.

Name: John Nguyen

Organization: Technovus, Simon Fraaser University

Age: 23

John is a Co-founder and President of Technovus at SFU. Technovus is a student run initiative whose mission is to foster the development and learning of young creators. They do this through hands on technical projects, workshops, and competitions. Over the past year, Technovus has grown from 5 members to 40 active members working on 6 different technical projects. Technovus has hosted over 15 events ranging from robotics workshops for the community, socials, and technical competitions. Their flagship event is its annual Mechathon - a competition in which over 100 innovators, designers, and entrepreneurs came together to solve real health challenges within the community in the span of 24 hours. The event brings together students, mentors, and industry professionals with the goal of giving students the chance to challenge themselves and innovate while, at the same time, learn about health challenges within the community.

Name: Chirag Patel

Organization: SOAR Philanthropic Society

Age: 23

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.

Name: Rochelle Prasad

Organization: Camp We Empower

Age: 19

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.

Name: Jasanjeet Rai

Organization: Kids Play Youth Foundation

Age: 23

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.

Name: Talvir Sahota

Organization: Kids Play Youth Foundation

Age: 22

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.

Name: Georgiy Sekretaryuk

Organization: Cering Technology Inc.

Age: 19

For the past year and a half, Georgiy has been working on building a company called Cering, which is a smart jewellery emergency alert platform for public safety. The company creates smart rings, bracelets and pendants with the capability of notifying local authorities should the person wearing the jewellery be in danger. It is designed in such a way that if the person wearing the jewellery taps three times on it, it would alert local authorities and emergency contacts for help. Georgiy’s mission is to empower his community by creating a safer world for people to live in through smart jewellery. He believes that smart jewellery can be elegant and discreet, and can blend in, but still be there to help should people find themselves in unsafe situations. Cering started from a cohort of the Young Entrepreneur Leadership Launchpad (YELL) in 2016 where they placed first at the YELL Venture Challenge. After the program, they moved to working out of SFU Surrey’s co-working space to create their first jewellery designs in partnership with local jewellery designers and have had their smart gem technology developed out in China.

Name: Arman Turna

Organization: Global Cure Foundation

Age: 16

Arman is the founder and CEO of Global Cure Foundation, a registered non-profit organization dedicated to raising money for healthcare. His 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. He has employed 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 gives each of these school complete 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 Arman, so he can 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.

Name: Marco Zenone

Organization: Bridge for Health

Age: 22

Marco serves as a Co-Lead on the Student Health Advisory Committee and has co-led large projects such as increasing thriving within the Faculty of Health Sciences and improving mental health at Simon Fraser University. Marco has contributed to various community campaigns. In 2017 Marco was recognized as a Canadian National Cooperative Champion for his work on youth engagement within the Bridge for Health Cooperative. He was invited to Ottawa to share his story at a national meeting of cooperative in Canada. In addition, Marco has received several internal awards at Simon Fraser University including the Outstanding Service to the Faculty of Health Sciences Award, the Vicky Bach Memorial Book Prize, and a Vice President of Research Grant Award. Marco has presented his research and work at numerous conferences, including the 6th Global Forum on Health Promotion and has an upcoming presentation at Public Health 2018. Marco has additionally been recognized as a leader within the Faculty of Health Sciences and has been profiled through various advertisements on behalf of the Faculty.

Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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