This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
“Age is not a barrier to volunteer”, says Harnoor Gill – a 2012 Recipient of the YMCA Peace Medallion.
You’ll be surprised to know that since 1987, YMCAs in Canada have honoured individuals or groups in their communities who, without any special resources, demonstrate in their lives and through their activities the local, national and international value of peace and understanding. Each of the 45 YMCAs and 6 YMCA-YWCAs, across Canada, are independent registered charities. A full listing of the 51 Canadian YMCAs and YMCA-YWCAs can be found via: http://www.ymca.ca/en/find-your-ymca.aspx
On Wednesday, November 21, 2012, over 100 Torontonians gathered at the YMCA Mississauga Centre, to honour Gill, one of the 2012 YMCA of Greater Toronto Area Peace Medallion Award recipients, for demonstrating commitment and youth leadership with groups such as the Halton Hills Mayor’s Youth Action Committee, Town of Halton Hills, Halton Region, Georgetown Hospital Foundation, Halton Children’s Aid Society, Red Cross, Volunteer Halton, Halton Multicultural Council, Milton Air Cadets, Big DADDY Festival, Willow Park Ecology Centre, Protect Our Water and Environmental Resources, Credit Valley Conservation Authority, and Conservation Halton.
Being a Peer Youth Leader, at Christ The King Secondary School’s Sonar-2-Voice –enviro group and Student Voice -Anti-Bullying group, and in the Relay for Life, Gill, is a role model for youngsters and teenagers, in particular he wants to reach out to youth who are new to Canada through, The Peace Welcome Club, he founded this earlier this year.
· One of the projects his group runs at his club is a book drive. He and his members have collected approximately 1,000 books to donate to First Nations children and youth for the isolated communities in Northern Ontario. Gill wanted to do this after he heard that these kids are behind 3-4 years in literacy skills due to lack of resources. Immediately he got to work.
· His project “Jean Green Drive” was founded by Gill. He has donated almost 2000 pairs of jeans to under privileged kids locally and internationally and delivered them as far away as India with the help of his parents.
· The young leader has also helped to raise funds for the Spelling Bee of Canada where he raised $1,000 in 2011.
Gill is an avid writer and conveys his message that “age is not a barrier to volunteer”, via putting his own volunteer experience upfront to promote peace through the photographs, articles, inspiring stories of youth’s initiatives in the worldwide community.,.
Gill has a strong desire to help his community, as it is a top priority on his work things to do list. He has been featured on Rogers TV, Omni TV, WOW! TV, Cogeco TV, Radio Punjab, Radio Sargam Toronto, in the South Asian Focus, Living City Magazine, Ecokids of Earth Day Canada, Asian Journal, Times of India, Hindustan Times, South Asian Generation Next, CanIndia News and The Weekender. He also has been youngest keynote speaker at the World Religion Day in 2011 in Dunville, Ontario.
But he is not a boaster and feels many others do much more than him. He said even at his young age he realizes the world of tomorrow is in the hands of his generation and with the society of today, where oftentimes the family is fragmented, many young people lose their way. His hope and that of his family and friends who are in the Peace Welcome Club, is to bring love, care and ‘we can do this’ attitude to new Canadians! Kudos to you Harnoor, you are blazing a trail in your new country and should be proud of what you have accomplished. Your parents have much to be proud of.