BY SWATI GUPTA
Peace Welcome Club
Harnoor Gill with award
Y Media and CIBC organized the dazzling 6th Annual CIBC Midweek South Asian Awards event on Saturday, October 12 at the Grand Victorian Convention Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. The awards were established in 2007 and at this event, Yudhvir Jaswal, CEO and Group Editor of Y Media, along with his team welcomed and recognized the achievements of extraordinary South Asians locally as well as internationally.
There was one truly amazing category that was just recently added to the awards which was the South Asian Teen of the Year award. This was awarded to none other than Harnoor Gill. Gill, who is of Indian descent, was born in Hong Kong and raised in Canada. At the age of 15, he is currently a sophomore from Christ the King Catholic Secondary School at Georgetown in Ontario. As an award-winning activist, published writer, motivational speaker and founder of Peace Welcome Club (PWC), Gill has achieved more than the average 30-year-old male. PWC was founded by Gill at the age of 14 in February 2012.
Harnoor Gill with Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell
Nine individuals, including Harnoor Gill, were recognized for their professional accomplishments and contributions for the South Asian community.
(Mississauga’s Arun Srivastava, CEO and president of Paystation, received the Entrepreneur of the Year award. Others:
Vijay Sappani, Youth of the Year; Anil Chawla, Professional of the Year; Dr. Lalita Malhotra, Humanitarian of the Year; Rabbi Shergill, Artist of the Year. Stewart Bell received the Award for Bravery and Courage, Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell was given the Diversity Award and renowned cricket player Harbhajan Singh, who couldn’t make it to the event, received the Sher-E-Punjab Award.)
“I am so thankful to Y Media for such a great honour and a pleasant surprise by recognizing me with a Teen of the Year award. I encourage all South Asian media outlets to refrain from promoting India’s / Punjab’s politics and be more focused on current Canadian issues. This would especially be youth-led projects to promote volunteerism to help make this country a better place for future generations,” Gill said.
He added: “I felt so fortunate to stand amongst remarkable people of our community, and it was a blessing.” When asked how the idea came up to promote volunteerism and community service in youngsters, Gill said: “It starts from home. When you volunteer as a family in the community that’s how your children get inspired and they follow the same path. Do not encourage your children to complete 40 hours of community service only to fulfill high school diploma requirements. Tell them to go an extra mile and make a difference.”
Over the years, Gill has received many awards and honours, including the International Diana Award in 2013, International Eco-Hero Award in 2013, YMCA Peace Medallion in 2012, and Queen Jubilee Medal in 2012. He was named one of the Top 15 under 15 in 2011 and Ontario Junior Citizen of the Year in 2011.
Gill, who lives in the small community of Georgetown, loves it there and is heavily engaged in it.