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A new generation of change: Announcing the 2015 Top 20 under 20™

Here, at Plan Canada, we know that youth have the power to change the world – and we have 20 compelling examples to prove it.

Canada has some incredible youth who are driving local and global efforts to impact positive change. We want to celebrate young Canadians who share in our vision of a world in which every person – regardless of faith, culture or gender – can access the rights and freedoms they deserve, and reach their full potential.

That’s why we were thrilled to acquire the Top 20 Under 20™ program from Youth in Motion in 2014 and are now pleased to continue its legacy as one of our national youth engagement initiatives.

The 2015 Top 20 Under 20™ award recipients.

The 2015 Top 20 Under 20™ award recipients.

Each year, the Top 20 Under 20™ award recognizes 20 of Canada’s brightest youth who have demonstrated a significant level of innovation, leadership, and achievement in their communities and abroad.

This year, our national judging panel of committed and qualified Canadian volunteers, selected 20 deserving young men and women to claim the Top 20 Under 20™ 2015 title. In addition to being recognized for their achievements, winners participated in a unique 3-day leadership summit to connect with one another and develop personal and professional skills. They also received individual Career Coaching, courtesy of Right Management.

Putting innovation into action

From young social entrepreneurs to environmental and health science researchers, this dynamic group has completed extraordinary feats that are helping others, inspiring their peers and laying a promising foundation for future generations.

Anjali Katta.

Anjali Katta, Because I am a Girl Girls’ Speakers Bureau and member of the Government of Canada’s newly-created Girls Advisory Council.

We believe the most powerful global movements start at the community level and that overcoming big challenges often begins with small, collective successes. And though the greatest triumphs happen when we work together, we know it often starts with one person who dares to put bold ideas in motion to drive positive change.

“I refused to give up,” says 17-year-old recipient, Anjali Katta of British Colombia, recalling how her first conference workshop only had 5 attendees despite hours spent arranging speakers. She didn’t let the experience detract her and urges youth to not be disheartened by inevitable bumps along the way: “simply start somewhere,” she encourages. “If you have even an inkling of an idea, go with it.”

Supporting others, Inspiring change

All of this year’s winners prove that it isn’t the moments of difficulty that define us, but how we choose to act in the face of them. We’re proud (and in awe) of these young changemakers for seeing the opportunity that exists within challenges – and for rallying to improve the lives of others and making incredible things possible.

We can’t wait to see what these inspiring youth do next. In the meantime, we’d like to share with you the extraordinary achievements they’ve already accomplished (all before the age of 20!). Without further ado, we’d like to introduce Plan Canada’s 2015 Top 20 Under 20™…

Plan Canada offers a special thanks to our generous corporate sponsors, including lead funding partner RBC Foundation, for supporting the Top 20 Under 20™ program.