7 young people in Canada who made a difference in 2017

Who are the young people in Canada who made a difference in 2017? Kids Help Phone rounds up our favourite youth activists this year.

Name: Kieran Drachenberg

How they’re making a difference: Kieran made the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)’s 150 Leading Canadians for Mental Health list in 2017. Why? Kieran is an avid fundraiser, youth activist and a member of Kids Help Phone’s NYC. He’s especially passionate about mental health and well-being and the LGBTQ2S+ community. For example, Kieran was instrumental in the passing of Bill 31, which protects gender identity in Nunavut’s Human Rights Act. Kieran believes in sharing his story about being transgender so other young people know they’re not alone and it’s OK to reach out.

Name: Hannah Alper

How they’re making a difference: Hannah’s resumé includes everything from writer to environmentalist to motivational speaker. Hannah released her book of interviews, Momentus: Small Acts, Big Change, in 2017. It shows readers real role models and reminds everyone that even the smallest act can make the biggest difference. By speaking at conferences and schools across North America, Hannah empowers others to effect positive change in their communities.

Name: Sarah Jama

How they’re making a difference: Sarah believes in inclusivity and accessibility for everyone. In 2017, the Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion (HCCI) hired Sarah as an outreach coordinator concentrating on diversity and leadership. Sarah shared her story with CBC Radio about growing up with cerebral palsy and campaigning for accessibility in her community. Sarah also added the 2016/17 President of the McMaster Womanists to her long list of accomplishments this year.

Name: Aidan Lee

How they’re making a difference: This year, Aidan won an Oakville YMCA 2017 Peace Medal for his dedication to inclusivity. Aidan was born with autism and was unable to communicate verbally as a young child. To cope, he learned to express himself through painting. Aidan now teaches art classes at local elementary schools to share the importance of awareness and acceptance with hundreds of students. He also donates his work to charities close to his heart.

Name: Alexandra Philp-Reeves

How they’re making a difference: Alexandra is the founder of emojiHEALTH, an app that gives teens the power to control their own health and well-being. The app allows youth to get accurate, reliable information on topics like depression, diabetes and more through chatbots on social media. In April 2017, Alexandra gave a TEDx Talk on her journey to becoming an entrepreneur. She strongly believes the future should be designed by youth and often shares her tips for other young innovators.

Name: Malala Yousafzai

How they’re making a difference: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau awarded Malala honorary Canadian citizenship in 2017. The education activist then addressed the House of Commons of Canada on global issues, becoming the youngest person in history to do so. Malala is passionate about human rights and advocates for all kids, especially girls, to be able to go to school. (She’s also the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner!)

Name: Patrick Hickey

How they’re making a difference: Former Kids Help Phone NYC member Patrick won a Young Humanitarian Award from the Canadian Red Cross in 2017. Patrick is devoted to improving youth mental health and well-being, especially among young people living in Northern Canada. Patrick’s participation in mental health conferences, committees and other groups make him a standout activist this year.

These young people in Canada are making a difference with their passion for mental health and well-being. We hope these youth activists inspire you to give back to your own community and show you that every contribution counts.

Need more information or support? You can contact Kids Help Phone 24/7.