Canada’s Top 20 Under 20™ is Youth In Motion’s signature national program, which recognizes 20 young people across the country chosen by the Order of Canada for their exceptional leadership, innovation and achievements. Among this year’s recipients are young scientists, entrepreneurs, humanitarians and youth advocates. The 2014 Top 20 under 20 recipients have collectively raised more than $2.7 million for their various charities and business ventures. Congratulations to all recipients!
We’d like to feature 3 outstanding teenage nutrition and education advocates:
Kourosh Houshmand

Toronto, ON

Age: 19

As Student Trustee for the Toronto District School Board, Kourosh represented over 260,000 students across the city. He has been quoted and published by over 120 national and international media outlets for his student voice advocacy which led him to establish the Toronto Star Student Hub– a collection of aspiring student journalist working with Canada’s largest publication. Beyond his community, Kourosh founded Solar for Life, a non-profit that provides affordable solar energy to communities in Uruguay and South Africa with outreach to over 250 volunteers.

In 2012, Kourosh inspired over 15,000 students across Canada to participate in Stick It to Fast Food, an organized boycott of fast food in schools. His most recent work was founding Education Rediscovered– a content driven student organization for global education reform– where he exclusively interviewed Noam Chomsky.

Laura Pai Luo

North Vancouver, BC

Age: 18

Immigrating to Canada in 9th grade, Laura had to adapt to a new culture, language and education system very quickly. That challenge inspired her to co-found Octopus Education International, which hires university-educated English speakers in Canada to provide online tutoring services for Chinese students. To date, Octopus has reached over 500 international students. Laura also co-created Kindlers, a nonprofit that has collected over 11,000 used books from local communities and shipped them to students in China and Tanzania.

Locally, to combat the stigma associated with seeking counseling, Laura led YouthLAB’s presentations on mental health issues at six local high schools for more than two hundred North Shore youth. She has won numerous awards and competitions, including the BC Secondary Math Competition as well as the City of North Vancouver’s Outstanding Youth Award.

Mélanie-Rose Frappier

Age: 17

Sudbury, ON

While serving as a Youth Ambassador of Canada, Mélanie-Rose created It’s Cool to be Healthy/C’est cool d’être en santé, an interactive program that has educated several hundred students on the benefits of exercise and proper nutrition. She has given countless hours of her time volunteering in her community, and assumed a youth leadership role on a number of community organizations including the Aboriginal Advisory Education Committee, and the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples.

Mélanie-Rose is a recipient of the National Aboriginal Youth Achievement Award and the Gathering Our Voices Aboriginal Youth Award in recognition of her outstanding leadership and dedication to improving her community.

Click here for more information about Youth in Motion’s Top 20 Under 20.