Shad Valley
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Three Shads Named Top 20 Under 20

We love hearing about the successes of Shad Valley alumni. Luckily for us, it’s a privilege that occurs often. As Shad Valley President Barry Bisson describes, “whenever there are successes being recognized, there are Shads present in disproportionate numbers” and this is absolutely true for this year’s Top 20 Under 20 recipients.

Congratulations to Ivneet Bains (Shad Lakehead 2009), Ben Kim (Shad McMaster 2009) and Grant Sparling (Shad Lakehead 2010) for their recognition as three of Canada’s top 20 individuals under 20 years old. Through their involvement in their local and global communities, they have been addressing big issues by using the kind of innovative and entrepreneurial spirit that Shad Valley works to foster.

Ivneet Bains founded Math4me, a social entrepreneurship organization that focuses on math and on fostering self-confidence among young Canadians. Despite his current successes (Math4Me has reached over 300 students and continues to grow), Ivneet recognized that starting the organization would involve risks. Ivneet speaks very fondly of how his experiences at Shad Valley challenged him to stretch well beyond his areas of comfort. Most of all, though, Ivneet credits his fellow Shads and a program guest speaker and Shad Valley board member, Patańjali Venkatacharya, for showing him that “without risk, there is no return”, providing the motivation and courage that really inspired him to pursue Math4Me.

Ben Kim founded Musicians Without Borders (MWB), an organization that hosts fundraisers, benefit concerts and art festivals across Canada to raise money for humanitarian projects. To date, MWB has raised over $10,000 for global development projects – and it all started when Ben met fellow students at Shad Valley who shared his passion for sharing music. According to Ben, these common connections with similar people are so important because “day to day interactions with people can go a long way to motivate and challenge you to be better … if you share your stories it’ll change your life”. Currently, MWB has over 400 members, and through the organization, Ben has been changing the lives of people in both his local and global community.

Grant Sparling began inventing at a young age – in grade eight, he designed a set of hybrid golf clubs that led him to become a finalist at the Canada Wide Science Fair. According to Grant, Shad Valley provided the motivating environment that allowed the Shad Lakehead 2010 team to together develop V720, a capsule than can deliver vaccines (such as the influenza vaccine) orally. They successfully secured a provisional patent for the team’s RIM/Shad Entrepreneurship Cup project, and Grant is currently working to secure a full patent. For Grant, the Top 20 Under 20 Leadership Summit also provided an incredible opportunity to connect with judges as well as other recipients.

Every year, exceptional youth attend Shad Valley to share with each other their interests, talents and passions. Ivneet, Ben and Grant each show how this spirit of collaboration and innovation can address big issues, creating solutions that benefit our communities. Congratulations!


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“The lessons I learned that summer continue to shape my daily decisions.”
~ Baillie Aaron (Shad Alumnus)