Bahai News -- The Brampton Guardian - Five Brampton teens nominated for junior citizen awards Wednesday, February 12th, 2003

Five Brampton teens nominated for junior citizen awards

Fran Aliakbarkhani, 14, receives her Ontario Junior Citizen of the Year nomination certificate from Lorne Drury, editor-in-chief of The Brampton Guardian.
Five Brampton teens are among the nominees for the Ontario Junior Citizen of the Year Awards. The final 12 recipients, chosen from 196 teens from across the province, will be announced later this month and the winners recognized at the annual Ontario Community Newspapers Association convention in April.

Nominees are between the ages of 6 and 18, and may be involved in community service, special young people who are contributing while living with a physical or psychological limitation, individuals who have performed acts of heroism or bravery or 'good kids' who show a commitment to making life better for others and doing more than is normally expected of someone their age.

Winners will receive a plaque, a lapel pin, $200 cash and a portrait.

Brampton's contenders, who were nominated through The Brampton Guardian include:

* Joel Francis, 18, is a member of the Brampton Youth Network (BYN), representing his home church, Christ Anglican Church. Through the BYN, he has organized a city-wide youth rally that engaged young people in music, a 30-hour famine in aid of Third World countries, games, a potluck dinner and fellowship. Francis is also a self-taught Web designer, and has volunteered his time and expertise to build sites for friends, relatives, community organizations and his church. He also acts as a server and audio technician for services at Christ Anglican Church.

* Carolyn Hamilton, 18, is a student at Brampton Centennial Secondary School. An enthusiastic athlete, Hamilton also works as a lifeguard, swim instructor and as a member of the Canadian Ski Patrol System. She is also a level six skier and a provincial champion at Beaver Valley's President's Cup. Hamilton is currently studying for the National Coaching Certification Program, Level 1, at Humber College. In addition, she is a 14-year member of the Girl Guides and has volunteered her time for the Toronto Humane Society Paws in the Park, WingDing in Ching, Canadian Cancer Society, McHappy Day, Knights Table and the Hospital for Sick Kids. Her inspiration is her 92-year-old great grandfather, who is still an active volunteer at a seniors' home.

* Fran Aliakbarkhani, 14, is a student at Turner Fenton Secondary School where she will be volunteering with the playschool program. After school, she takes flute lessons and babysits. Aliakbarkhani is also an active member of her church, and regularly attends Bahai Sunday school, where she led a children's dance group.

* Kassandra Baird, who turned 15 on Jan. 29, is currently studying dance at Mayfield Secondary School, where she was the only Grade 9 student chosen to perform in the school's productions of The Nutcracker and the upcoming Guys and Dolls. While at Fernforest Public School, Baird played on several sports teams, assisted in the library, was a reading buddy for kindergarten students and worked on the yearbook. Graduating with a 95 per cent average, Baird was awarded both academic and artistic achievement awards. In Grade 4, she won a public speaking award for a speech against racism. For the past five years, Baird has been a canvasser with the Kidney Foundation of Canada and has been waiting for her 15th birthday so she can volunteer at the William Osler Health Centre. Through her dancing, Baird also volunteers her time performing shows at nursing homes, fairs and schools.

* Alim Pabani, 16, has been an active volunteer member of the Brampton Ismaili Volunteer Corp since the age of 8. Through his work on the IVC's youth council, Pabani has helped secure facilities and coordinate volunteers for a study group, which runs every Sunday. Pabani is a student of the International Baccalaureate program at Turner Fenton Secondary School, where he has represented his school at the University of Toronto biology exam, Pascal math competition, and leadership conferences. He is also a member of the school's Canada First Robotics Club, which was awarded first prize at a recent competition. A green belt in karate, Pabani also participates in soccer, football, volleyball, tennis, cross-country running and table tennis. He is also a Duke of Edinburgh gold award winner, having done more than 250 hours of community service, volunteering for such causes as the Terry Fox Run and Focus Canada.

©Copyright 2003, The Brampton Guardian (Canada)

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