Skip to main content

Josh Tiessen , 17, Ontario

Handout

Twenty Canadians are being recognized for initiatives that range from curbing environmental damage in the oil sands to tackling job discrimination to conducting original microbiology studies – and they are all under 20 years of age.

The Top 20 Under 20 Awards, an RBC-sponsored program run by the charitable organization Youth in Motion, is a national awards endeavor that reaches out to thousands of youth across the country before finalizing a list of 20 up-and-comers who embody leadership, innovation and achievement.

Whether it's a creative mind who started an online space for high school kids to express themselves artistically, a student who started training youth on bullying prevention when she felt teachers weren't properly trained, or a 13-year-old girl who built her own microbiology lab after being denied access to university resources for being too young – each recipient has worked to improve their community.

Story continues below advertisement

Although students are often recommended by teachers and councillors to apply for the award, the program is not exclusive to schools, said Larry Mah, Youth in Motion programs director.

"We don't ask for transcripts," he said. "We don't associate success with grades."

The final group is vetted and judged by a panel of Order of Canada recipients.

"We thought it was important for these individuals who have been recognized with the highest civil award to select the up-and-coming," said Mr. Mah.

Past recipients have gone on to invent solar paint, develop kinetic-energy-generating shoes and receive funding from the Canadian reality TV show Dragon's Den.

Top 20 Under 20 alumni winners have together reached out to 3 million youth through their initiatives, raised more than $10-million for various charity organizations and earned more than $50-million for entrepreneurial business ventures, according to statistics provided by Youth in Motion.

The full list of 2013 recipients includes: Amanda Belzowski, 15 (Ont.); Armin Rezaiean-Asel, 19 (BC); Cameron Krisko, 19 (Man.); Ceilidh Millar, 19 (B.C.); Ellen Song, 18 (NS); Fahd Alhattab, 19 (Ont.); Habiba Cooper Diallo, 16 (NS); Howard Feng, 17 (Ont.); Jared Valdron, 19 (NB); Josh Tiessen, 17 (Ont.); Joshua Miller, 18 (Ont.); Kelcie Miller-Anderson, 18 (Alta.); Maya Burhanpurkar, 13 (Ont.); Michael Smith, 19 (Alta.); Preston Lim, 17 (BC); Sarthak Sinha, 16 (Alta.); Scott Adams, 19 (Sask.); Shane Feldman, 18 (Ont.); Simone Cavanaugh, 19 (Que.); and Victoria Chok, 18 (Ont.).

Story continues below advertisement

Click here to meet all 20.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies