TORONTO, Feb. 5, 2014 /CNW/ - Mackenzie Investments and StudentAwards have selected Abirami Kirubarajan of Mississauga, Ontario as the winner of the sixth annual Canada's Top Teen Philanthropist contest. The contest recognizes a group of young philanthropic powerhouses who have spent countless hours volunteering, making a positive impact in Canada and around the world. With more than 58 per cent of Canadian youth offering time, money or both to support charity, this contest highlights the outstanding work being completed by a group of inspiring teen philanthropists.
Abirami was awarded $2,500 for personal investment and an additional $5,000 for her volunteer work with Peel Multicultural Council (PMC). For over three years, Abirami has supported PMC's vision of creating a harmonious multicultural society by increasing communication and building bridges of understanding among various ethno-cultural groups, institutions and the community.
Through her work, she founded the PMC Youth Advisory, which helps immigrated youth integrate into Canadian culture while overcoming the stresses of a new world. This program encourages newly immigrated youth to build self-confidence and make friends, while giving back to the community and honing leadership skills. To date, the program has benefited more than 600 students.
"Mackenzie Investments is honoured to support Canada's Top Teen Philanthropist," said Brad Offman, Vice President, Strategic Philanthropy, Mackenzie Investments. "It is truly amazing to see the outstanding work that young Canadians are doing from coast to coast. These young volunteers are the leaders of the future."
"This year's finalists demonstrated remarkable passion, drive and dedication and are doing inspirational work in their respective communities," said Rob Henderson, CEO, yconic, parent company of StudentAwards. "It has been a privilege to support student philanthropy and share our passion for helping make the lives of students better."
Canada's Top Teen Philanthropist contest was launched in 2008. Every year, applications are submitted by youth aged 13-19 from across Canada who have donated money, goods, services and/or time to support a charitable cause. The finalists are selected by an esteemed panel of judges based on specific criteria, including: the breadth of their volunteering and fundraising efforts; leadership and creativity; hands-on involvement in their philanthropic pursuits; length and level of their involvement; and impact on their community and their charity.
This year, five runners-up were awarded $500 and an additional $500 for the charity of their choice for going above and beyond in supporting their communities and contributing to volunteer initiatives.
Leah Davidson from Sherbrooke, Que.: After a trip to the Antarctic two years ago that changed her perspective on climate change, Leah has volunteered with the Students on Ice Foundation. The organization enables economically disadvantaged youth to tour the Arctic and Antarctic so they can see the firsthand effects of climate change. Leah has also launched Act for Antarctica, a campaign that hopes to educate 1000 students from across the world about Antarctica and undertake a conservation act to fight for its protection by March 2014.
Oksana Kishchuk from Saskatoon, Sask.: For more than six years, Oksana Kishchuk has aided fundraising and recruitment initiatives and has enhanced awareness for Free the Children, an organization that helps communities in Asia, Africa and Latin America lift themselves out of poverty. Oksana has also raised over $25,000 to support the construction of a boy's secondary school in Kenya.
Shivani Mysuria from Burnaby, B.C.: Shivani has dedicated countless hours volunteering on behalf of the Burnaby Task Force on Homelessness. She has worked directly in the community, seeking engagement and support, hosted various fundraising initiatives and started a school club, all to help end homelessness in Burnaby.
Divya Shah from Markham, Ont.: In 2009, Divya launched the Pencils for Kids (P4K) Markham chapter with the goal of providing underprivileged children in West Africa access to education. With the work of more than 150 members, P4K Markham has raised over $10,000 in cash and school supplies and has built five P4K schools in Niger that have changed the lives of over 350 families and communities.
Vivian Tsang from Vancouver, B.C.: After working with Covenant House Vancouver, Vivian was inspired to spearhead the Humanitarian Organization for Providing Empowerment (HOPE) with the mission to bridge the gap between vulnerable groups in society and give them practical resources to escape from their troubling circumstances. Through various initiatives, HOPE's team of 30 has spent 1,000 hours making their school community a more welcoming place for marginalized adolescents.
StudentAwards is owned and operated by yconic and is Canada's largest student-based platform providing youth with opportunities and awards to help them reach life's milestones. Since 1998, StudentAwards has been helping high school, college and university students from across Canada get ahead by providing them with access to scholarships, bursaries, contests, specialized student offers, giveaways and other financial assistance. With over 2.25 million members, and an average of 566 new members a day, StudentAwards provides youth with access to more than $87 million in financial awards annually. For more information please visit www.StudentAwards.com and www.yconic.ca.
About Mackenzie Investments
Mackenzie Investments was founded in 1967, and is a leading investment management firm providing investment advisory and related services. With $65.3 billion in assets under management as at December 31, 2013, Mackenzie Investments distributes its investment services through multiple distribution channels to both retail and institutional investors. Mackenzie Investments is a member of the IGM Financial Inc. (TSX: IGM) group of companies. IGM Financial is one of Canada's premier financial services companies with $131.8 billion in total assets under management as at December 31, 2013. For more information, visit mackenzieinvestments.com.
SOURCE: Mackenzie Investments
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