There’s a widespread misconception that today’s young people are entitled, technology-dependent, and apathetic.
Vancity Buzz is featuring some of the inspiring youth within our communities to renew your faith in the leaders of tomorrow. They’ll prove that despite the stereotypes, there are plenty of ambitious young people right here in B.C.
As part of this year’s Youth Week, Vancity Buzz partnered with Coast Capital Savings to find five inspiring youth who are fearlessly chasing their dreams.
All five have benefited from the local credit union’s innovative Youth Get It investment program, designed to help build richer future for youth in our communities. The program supports three key areas that are vital to the development of young people. These include financial empowerment, educational success, and healthy minds.
Vancity Buzz had the opportunity to sit down with Bal Khatra, a member of the Coast Capital’s Young Leaders Community Council who is an employee with the credit union’s corporate university, Coast U.
These councils, one in each of Coast Capital’s trade areas (Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, and Vancouver Island), bring emerging young leaders together. With a for youth, by youth approach, Council members are empowered to make decisions that have a real, positive impact on other youth in their community by reviewing and approving applications to the credit union’s Youth Get It granting program.
Tell us a bit about your experiences with the Coast Capital Young Leaders Community Council
The Coast Capital Young Leaders Community Council is an amazing program and I am honoured to volunteer on the Fraser Valley council. Our council is comprised of an accomplished and energetic group of young people – four employee representatives and four community representatives. We are all under the age of 30 and live, work, and volunteer in the communities that we serve. As a group, we make recommendations on the adjudication of Coast Capital’s community investment grants.
Why do you think it’s important for youth to be supported with programs like these?
Programs like the Young Leaders Community Council helps us build a richer future for youth in our communities by giving us a voice to make a real difference.
The YLCC allows for youth to have a voice in our communities. It’s important that decisions on community investment grants are made by individuals who are connected with their local communities and understand the positive impact these grants have on youth.
What’s the most important life lesson you have learned?
To always work hard, stay humble and be grateful. I was raised by my grandmother, who was a strong and resilient woman. She inspired me from a young age to always pursue my goals with relentless passion, but to not lose sight of what’s important in life. Anytime I find myself caught up or losing sight of the bigger picture, I fall back on these basic principles.
What community do you live in?
I am a proud resident of Surrey. I was born and raised in this city and have called it home for the past 24 years. It’s cool to reflect back on how much the city has developed in my lifetime and now as a young adult, seeing youth participate in the community organizations that I was once a part of.
What words of wisdom would you offer your peers?
Take calculated risks and gain as many new experiences as you can. Not only is it fulfilling, but you’ll be setting yourself up for success in the long run.
Looking five or 10 years ahead… what’s the dream?
First and foremost, my goal is to make a positive impact within any organization, position or team that I join. For the next few years, I’d like to gain a diverse range of experiences across different disciplines and gradually transition into leadership roles. I’d eventually like to return to university to pursue graduate studies or a professional designation, so let’s see what the future holds!
What’s one thing you most want to change in the world that would help youth?
I believe strongly in the power of education and would like to see continuous enhancements and improvements to our education system. This is the best way to empower the next generation. In particular, I would like to see changes to improve accessibility to higher levels of education for all youth and investments in educational programming that teach youth life skills.
If you’re interested in learning more about Coast Capital’s Youth Get It investment program, click here. Coast Capital’s Youth Get It investment program supports a variety of youth-focused initiatives. This includes the credit union’s signature programs like its Youth Team, and Young Leaders Community Councils. In addition, initiatives such as SFU Venture Connection Program, Youth Futures Education Fund and Tradeworks Women in the Trades benefit from the Youth Get It investment program.