2014 Recipients

Farheen AhmedFarheen Ahmed
Stephen Leacock Collegiate Institute, Toronto, Ontario
University of Toronto

As leader of her school’s Equity Club, Farheen spearheaded initiatives that reflect her deep understanding of social justice and intersectionality. She arranged Pink Shirt Days and organized an anti-homophobia campaign for teachers. Farheen also planned an Autism Awareness Week to celebrate neurodiversity and people on the autism spectrum. She has led by example and never shied away from sharing her personal experiences in order to help, motivate and inspire others.

Shaneka AndersonShaneka Anderson
Don Mills Collegiate Institute, Toronto, Ontario
University of Guelph – Humber

Founder of her school’s Gay-Straight Alliance, Shaneka is a passionate advocate for creating safe spaces and opportunities for social transformation in schools. She organized an anti-stress campaign where speakers were brought in to discuss and bring awareness to mental health issues. Shaneka has also worked as a peer mentor to students with mental and physical disabilities, meeting one-on-one and arranging group outings. She plans to become a child/youth social worker and a lawyer.

Kevin ChiKevin Chi
RC Palmer Secondary School, Richmond, British Columbia
University of British Columbia

As president of his school’s Global Network and as an executive member of the Diversify Me Club, Kevin demonstrated a strong commitment to fostering equity and global citizenship amongst his peers. He has raised awareness and funds for various humanitarian projects throughout the world. Kevin also worked for the Tian-Pao Maitreya Buddhist Missionary Institute at homes for the elderly and volunteered as a peer mentor and tutor to English Language Learners and students with disabilities.

Victoria GagneVictoria Gagne
Harvest City Christian Academy, Regina, Saskatchewan
McGill University

Victoria worked hard to break down stereotypes and barriers in her school and community. A proud member of the Métis Nation, she hosted Diversity Days and facilitated anti-bullying workshops both at her school and on a reserve in northern Saskatchewan. Victoria has also travelled to Mexico to learn from and work in solidarity with an indigenous population there. She was awarded Outstanding Female Achievement at the Saskatchewan Youth Aboriginal Awards.

Rebecca HagosRebecca Hagos
St. Joseph’s Catholic High School, Windsor, Ontario
York University

Rebecca founded her school’s annual Diversity Week to create an opportunity for students to challenge misconceptions and build understanding with each other. She also created the Social Justice Club, through which students coordinated events around bullying, acceptance and self-esteem. Rebecca is a co-founder of the African Diaspora Club, as well as Youth Ambassador for the AIDS Committee of Windsor, where she works in the community facilitating workshops for youth around HIV/AIDs education.

Jeenan KaiserJeenan Kaiser
Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate, Toronto, Ontario
University of Calgary

An executive member of the YWCA Girl’s Council, Jeenan educated young girls on issues such as diversity, self-esteem, media literacy, and critical thinking. Through the Miss Media Mentorship program, she encouraged girls to understand the effects media have on their perceptions and raised awareness of gender equity issues. As a member of Plan Canada’s Because I am a Girl Speaker’s Bureau, Jeenan was able to build awareness around many diversity issues.

Melissa LyonMelissa Lyon
Stelly’s Secondary School, Victoria, British Columbia
Camosun College University

Melissa is a powerful force for change. Born with cerebral palsy and epilepsy, Melissa continually defies inaccurate assumptions about her abilities. She volunteered at speaking engagements for United Way and the Headway Epilepsy Association, as well as created a “Purple Day” for epilepsy awareness at her school. Melissa is also a peer tutor for students with special needs and has created the online program “Cooking with Friends” for students with disabilities.

Karissa ManningKarissa Manning
Hagersville Secondary School, Hagersville, Ontario
University of Waterloo

Recognizing a need for better access to resources on mental health and bullying for students, Karissa created the Living Out Loud Club at her school. She organized Truth Day, a whole-school event that worked to break down social barriers between individuals and groups at school. Karissa was also active within her school board and community in raising awareness of mental health issues as a student trustee and as a volunteer at the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit.

Sonali PatelSonali Patel
White Oaks Secondary School, Oakville, Ontario
University of Toronto

As president of her school’s GSA, Sonali worked to make environmental, attitudinal and behavioural changes in her school, spearheading the installation of gender-neutral washrooms. She worked with Health Education teachers on making their lessons more inclusive, and collaborated on a school guideline to accommodate transgender and gender non-conforming students. Sonali demonstrated personal courage by coming out herself as a way to build awareness and promote the school’s International Coming Out Day.

Adonika WilkesAdonika Wilkes
Stephen Lewis Secondary School, Concord, Ontario
York University

Adonika created and organized her school’s first Equity Forum as a safe place for students of colour to voice their concerns. As part of a small minority of Black students in her school, she was active in organizing events and assemblies for Black History Month each year, partnering with local organizations for support. Her work and passion are evidence of her commitment to anti-discrimination and implementing programs that support youth civic engagement and development.