Now more than ever, Richmond's youth are engaged with social issues and committed to making a difference. Nowhere is this more apparent than at Volunteer Richmond, where we have the privilege of working with young leaders who are part of our Youth Now program. We were excited to learn last week that two of our Youth Now leaders were featured in the Richmond Review, and we're so proud of them that our Communications Coordinator Ryan Luetzen decided to send them our congratulations in this blog post.
Akaash and Dayah at the 2013-14 Youth Now Launch Ceremony, held this past September
This past Friday, the Richmond Review published its 5th Annual 30 Under 30 edition. We always look forward to it, because reading about the brilliant young people who are putting Richmond on the map is pretty darn inspiring. Musicians and athletes, artists and filmmakers, entrepreneurs and health professionals – in every conceivable field, our community is bursting with talent.
We admit, however, that when we flip open the paper and go through the list, we don’t read all of profiles right away, because we’re looking for names. Not just names that we recognize – truth be told, we recognize most of them – but names that have a special connection to Volunteer Richmond. This year, there were two: Akaash Bali
and Dayah Johal
Akaash and Dayah are participants in our Youth Now program
, which gives high school graduates under the age of 26 an opportunity to serve on a non-profit board of directors. Currently, Akaash is serving on Volunteer Richmond’s board, and Dayah on Gateway Theatre’s.
Of course, their involvement with Youth Now isn’t why Akaash and Dayah were named to the 30 Under 30 list.
Akaash is a third-year student at the Sauder School of business, and will intern this summer at global professional services firm KPMG, with eyes towards one day becoming a partner. He also co-founded, with his brother Rohit, The Young Investor Program, which teaches students about financial literacy.
Dayah, meanwhile, is the district manager for the Young Entrepreneurship Leadership Launchpad – YELL for short – which, beginning in the 2014/15 school year, will offer a course in which high school students can learn the ins and outs of starting and running a successful business. The initiative was co-founded by another 30 Under 30 alumni, Amit Sandhu.
So yes, both Akaash and Dayah deserve their place on the 30 Under 30 list, regardless of their connection to Youth Now. Nonetheless, there is a pattern emerging. Last year, two other Youth Now alumni – Natasha Jung
and Corinna Chan
– made the list as well. It can’t be a coincidence, right?
We’d like to think that the program plays an important role in nurturing potential. In fact, it doesn’t just nurture potential; it gives young people one of their first opportunities to truly realize it. What Youth Now is about, and what is reinforced by the 30 Under 30 list, is a belief that youth don’t have to wait in line. They have ideas and talent and drive. They’ll do amazing things in 10, 15, 20 years time, no doubt. But they’re also capable of doing amazing things today.
Youth Now is a channel through which young people can make an impact – in this case, with community organizations. We’re incredibly proud to be able to offer that opportunity, just as parents and coaches and teachers and mentors should be proud for offering guidance and encouragement. Just as other organizations whose programs give youth a chance to excel should be proud.
We can all take pride in the 30 Under 30 list. It’s a list of individuals, yes, but it’s a list about our community. We must be doing something right, because our youth certainly are. The Youth Now program is funded by Coast Capital Savings.