August 12! Day to Appreciate Youth Globally

By Jason Jhajj

We all know during our childhood, people tend to ask us “What do you want to be in the future?”
Your answer most probably leaned towards: “to be rich” or “to be an astronaut” or “to be successful” — all short, yet very distinct dreams that we all aspire to fulfill.
As an avid volunteer, I love to support youth and their community projects, especially those led by the youth themselves. To accomplish my task to highlight youth and their contributions, I came to know about the local youth-led “Peace Welcome Club” founded by a young man – the 17-year-old Harnoor Gill. I was impressed to learn that this young boy is quite different. Being a leader, he is now helping other young people to become leaders.
Ever since his childhood, Harnoor’s main dream was to help improve the lives of other people by lending a hand when needed…and indeed he did! He firmly believes that every child can make a difference by letting their voice be heard. Harnoor campaigns to make this happen.
An immigrant himself, Harnoor realizes the problems of youth settlement in a new school and local community — the need to understand and adapt to local culture, a new language; learning “how to volunteer” and finding the right opportunities — are all things that he has lived through. It struck him that there was little from a youth perspective in the community. And so, with the encouragement of his greatest fan, his mum, he began his most famous initiative, the Peace Welcome Club, which was born in 2012. To empower youth and motivate them is central to Harnoor’s vision. The Peace Welcome Club has reached out to more than 30,000 children and youth locally and worldwide. He has been featured in the Times of India, Indo-Canadian Voice, South Asian Focus, Canadian Immigrant and the like.
Harnoor has spoken in schools, to the media and has a Facebook page for the Peace Welcome Club. He encourages others to volunteer and he will continue to keep the youth engaged and bring about a positive impact in the local communities.
He is a former “World Vision Youth Ambassador” for World Vision Canada for his remarkable efforts in charity work and various fundraising efforts. He is a recipient of the “YMCA Peace Medallion” and the “Queen’s Jubilee Medal.” Harnoor has also been named as the “Halton Newcomer Hero” and the “South Asian Teen of the Year.”
Air Cadet of the “820 Chris Hadfield Squadron” in Milton, Harnoor has effectively promoted the program through his dedication and leadership skills. “I have successfully attracted, influenced and motivated individuals, especially youth, who follow three main standards in my social media campaigns: connectivity, creativity and impact,” says Harnoor.
I applaud by Harnoor’s contribution to our community where he has also recognized individuals every month as “Youth of the Month” and yearly as “Peace Builder of the Year,” which have positively impacted on the prosperity of the worldwide community and have contributed to the progress of their local neighborhoods.
Harnoor has met Canada’s former Prime Minister, Jean Chretien and the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Many are grateful for what this young man is doing for others — thereby bringing about a culture of giving, as opposed to a selfish culture where one only thinks about himself/herself. He works to increase his group’s humanitarian efforts and tries to make our world a better place to live in.
So, let’s celebrate the youth around us on August 12 and show them our appreciation for their contributions. Harnoor is an inspiring young man who demonstrates, like his hero Gandhi, that you can “be the change you wish to see in the world.”
You can contact Harnoor Gill directly on his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PeaceWelcomeClub