Two young leaders who live in Surrey/Delta are among five named to the StrongerBC Young Leaders Council, to “provide direct and ongoing feedback to government on priorities and policies that matter to youth” in B.C.
Surrey’s Harry Bajwa, 22, and Delta resident Ripdaman Malhans, 19, have joined the inaugural provincial leadership council, which includes members aged 14 to 26.
Three others named in December – Noor Shaker, 14, from Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam’s Alexandra Mandewo, 17, and Vancouver resident Jeanna Pillainayagam, 20 – are also appointed to the 18-member council, which received more than 250 applications and is billed as “an opportunity for young British Columbians to share their expertise and lived experience with the provincial government.”
Chaired by Brittny Anderson, the premier’s special adviser on youth, the council will discuss issues “that matter most to young people in areas such as education, employment, income, mental health and the environment,” according to a news release. “Issues affecting the Lower Mainland will also be brought forward to the council table.”
Surrey’s Bajwa immigrated from India at age four. He has a bachelor of commerce degree in finance, as well as a certificate in early-years education from the University of British Columbia. Through his work with Mannkind Charity, he helps impoverished children in orphanages and palliative care centres in developing countries.
“From an early age, he has been involved in philanthropic initiatives,” notes a biography on mannkindcharity.org. “In high school, Harry organized bi-weekly financial literacy workshops at homeless shelters to help the rising homeless population in his city secure jobs.
“He liaises with members of Mannkind Charity overseas to validate operating procedures and reconcile expenditures to the budget. Harry enjoys playing field hockey and discovering new music.”
Delta’s Malhans is a recipient of the Vimy Pilgrimage Award in recognition of his community work and leadership. He has worked with the Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen to help distribute hot meals on the Lower Mainland and developed its website. Malhans interns with GrantMe, an educational consultancy group that helps post-secondary students graduate debt-free.
“In general, I am a fun-loving guy who loves to joke around and converse with others,” says Malhans’ bio on the website grantme.ca. “I am a compassionate and diligent person whose goal as a mentor is to guide students on the right path. I was an International Baccalaureate student at Seaquam Secondary and I want to use my experience in high school, in community work and in writing scholarships to help future students become successful.”
Council members will serve one-year terms with the option to remain on the council for up to three terms. The first meeting is planned for spring 2022 and will be held quarterly.
“I’m looking forward to working with these remarkable young people to hear first-hand what is needed in the Lower Mainland to help improve their lives and opportunities,” said Anderson, council chair. “These young leaders represent some of the most community-minded young people in our province. Their input will make a difference for their peers and communities, now and for generations to come.”
To get involved in the StrongerBC Young Leaders Council, look for information posted on gov.bc.ca, email Young.Leaders.Council@gov.bc.ca or phone 250-940-8555.
A future intake is expected as existing members complete their terms. “New members will be selected with the goal of representing all regions of the province as well as the diverse backgrounds and experiences of young people in B.C.,” says a webpost. No previous experience is required.
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