Student named among Canada’s Top 20 Under 20

TORONTO  – You get the feeling we’re going to be hearing a lot from Victoria Chok.

This week, Chok, 18, a first-year Biomedical Sciences student at Western, was named to Canada’s Top 20 Under 20, presented by Youth in Motion, recognizing young people across the country for their innovation, leadership and achievement.

“Strong programs like Top 20 Under 20 allow students to demonstrate the impact they are having across Canada through scientific discovery, research, innovation, fundraising and volunteerism. They are showing all of us that one person really can help change the world,” said Shari Austin, Corporate Citizenship vice-president and RBC Foundation executive director. “Our continuing investment in education not only helps students, but also strengthens families, enriches our communities and builds the intellectual capital we need to ensure the future of our country.”

The Top 20 Under 20 Award program’s major partners and sponsors include RBC Foundation, PepsiCo Canada, Astral, The Globe and Mail, The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario, The Keg Spirit Foundation, Kira Talent, Right Management and Freedom 55 Financial.

In August 2009, when Chok was just 15, she founded Markham Getting Together, the first youth-operated non-profit in Markham, Ont. The organization’s mission is to support local artists through fundraising events and raise support for various causes and charities.

Chok directed a team of 20 student volunteers to initiate performances and concerts and provided an additional 100 volunteer opportunities to high school students. Her efforts raised more than $30,000, which led to the renovation of a cultural arts community centre, expansion of a youth shelter and building a water well in Malawi that would benefit 250 people.

In 2012, Chok was chosen from a pool of 5,000 applicants to attend the British Council’s Global Youth Summit in London, England. At the weeklong summit, she was appointed a Global Changemaker, a network of 600 activists, volunteers and social entrepreneurs who have made significant contributions to their communities through youth activism, education, environment, social entrepreneurship, poverty-relief and community engagement.

During her time at the summit, Chok consulted with British Parliament as a youth voice for policy-making and, more specifically, for the need to promote quality within public vs. private school systems. She was also recently named one of 30 Global Teen Leaders (GTL) by the We Are Family Foundation to attend the 2013 Three Dot Dash Just Peace Summit in New York City. As one of four Canadian leaders, Chok will participate in an innovative, year-long leadership and mentorship program.

Other Top 20 Under 20 Emerging Leaders included: Amanda Belzowski, 15, Ontario; Armin Rezaiean-Asel , 19, British Columbia; Cameron Krisko, 19, Manitoba; Ceilidh Millar, 19, British Columbia; Ellen Song, 18, Nova Scotia; Fahd Alhattab, 19, Ontario; Habiba Cooper Diallo, 16, Nova Scotia; Howard Feng, 17, Ontario;  Jared Valdron, 19, New Brunswick; Josh Tiessen, 17, Ontario; Joshua Miller, 18, Ontario; Kelcie Miller-Anderson, 18, Alberta;  Maya Burhanpurkar, 13, Ontario; Michael Smith, 19, Alberta; Preston Lim, 17, British Columbia; Sarthak Sinha, 16, Alberta; Scott Adams, 19, Saskatchewan; Shane Feldman, 18, Ontario; and Simone Cavanaugh, 19, Quebec.