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Igniting Surrey youth

38742surreyAanikhKlerSurreyIgnite

He developed a ring tone only young people can hear, and this week, used his story to spark passion in Surrey teens.

Aanikh Kler, a 15-year-old entrepreneur from Vancouver launched the smart phone app UndrtheRadr last year. The application, which was featured on CBC’s Dragon’s Den, allows users to download ring tones that only people under 21 can hear. Kler’s venture also supports Free The Children, an initiative to educate and empower youth worldwide.

Kler was one of the keynote speakers at Ignite 2014: Inspiration Starts Here, which more than 1,200 Surrey high school students attended at Princess Margaret Secondary last week.

“Being able to speak to my peer group at Princess Margaret Secondary School is a privilege and an honour. I hope they take away something that will inspire them to create change in their lives,” said Kler.

Ignite 2014, a joint initiative between the Surrey School  District’s Safe Schools  department and the  Association of South Asian  Professionals (ASAP), was  intended to expose students to  various professionals and  career choices in an array of  disciplines.

Other keynote speakers included Sam Thiara, association director of undergraduate community relations at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business and Dr. Surinder Janda.

As well, students attended three different 30-minute sessions of their choice, with 40 panelists from a variety of career backgrounds, including medicine, law enforcement, social services, business, media and education.

“It was an engaging day and it was great seeing the enthusiasm of the presenters,” said Jeff Randhawa, with the Safe Schools department. “Most importantly, the students found it to be valuable experience to learn about a variety of career choices.”

Jindy Bhalla, president of the ASAP, said it was a pleasure for the adults to act as role models for the youth.

“Ignite 2014 was a wonderful opportunity for students to explore and learn about potential career paths from professionals in the community sharing their career experiences first hand,” said Bhalla.

Anyone who would like to be involved in similar events in the future can contact ASAP’s Harvey Kooner at hkooner@shaw.ca

A Peaceful Night

A Peaceful Night

Amanda Lindhout captivated more than 100 attendees at the sixteenth annual YMCA Power of Peace awards last Wednesday.  Amanda’s gripping and courageous story as a captive in Somalia for 15 months, her amazing forgiveness for her captors and the inspiring humanitarian work she is now doing to help people in Somalia motivated all of us to choose peace, acceptance and grace in every circumstance, no matter how challenging.

This youth-focused event annually awards YMCA Peace Medals to local individuals who are working to strengthen our communities by promoting peaceful solutions to violence, conflict, discrimination and justice.  This year’s recipients are doing amazing work:

  • Brian McConaghy was awarded the medal in the Individual Category for his work to rescue and rehabilitate children sold into sex slavery in Cambodia.
  • The Surrey Princess Project, winner in the Organization Category, instills self-esteem and pride in young women who have overcome barriers to complete their high school diploma.
  • Aanikh Kler is our Young Peacemaker award recipient, who founded the UndrTheRadrMovement for social change at the age of 14 with proceeds helping youth have access to education in developing countries.

The Y is committed to upholding the values of peace in our community and across the world.  We are already looking forward to next year’s event and look forward to seeing you there.

AanikhKlerWEB-ES

Sixteen-year-old Vancouver student Aanikh Kler has been speaking to other kids about pursuing and developing their ideas in the wake of his Dragon’s Den appearance, where he scored a deal with Arlene Dickinson on his ringtone app, UndrTheRadr.

On Tuesday afternoon, he spoke to about 25 teens at the City of Surrey’s first Teen Hackathon at City Centre Library, where students brought their laptops, tablets and smartphones to try and use open data available online to design a useful app for the city.

“Part of my [public] speaking is I get to see all the amazing things cities and schools are now doing to help foster innovation and ideas,” said Kler. “I think an event like this where you have people that know so much about apps and creating them can help piece the idea and the technical aspect together, which will actually help in creating apps going forward.”

Also at the event were representatives from Microsoft and Mozilla, the company that created the Firefox browser, as well as Surrey’s geographic information systems manager, Sean Simpson, who said that the aim of the hackathon was for youth to start thinking about ways they can develop technology to help others.

“We want to get them involved in social issues and civic issues and try to make them civic-minded. We also know that teenagers never leave a smart phone; it’s always in their hand,” said Simpson. “We want to try to connect them with issues that are civic issues, with technology. So today we’re trying to connect the dots for them.”

Lectures included an explanation of what open data is (unrestricted information) and how it can be utilized in the creation of apps, as well as other programs which can be used to design visually appealing apps and combine data sets to create original apps.

Some of the ideas floating around the room included an app that maps the locations of alternative fuel stations, a pay parking locator and a program that combines city points of information with climate data.

Holy Cross High School student Savio Neyyan said he was really enjoying his first hackathon experience.

“The guy who made that app was really inspiring,” said Neyyan. “This whole program really seems informational for me. I’m learning a lot about apps and open data; it’s pretty fun.”

Before creating UndrTheRadr, which emits a ringtone that only young people can hear, Kler said he had no app-designing experience and doesn’t want that to stand in anyone else’s way either.

“If you’re passionate, people will realize that and they’ll try to help you,” said Kler. “My advice for other teenagers would be that if you’re passionate and you believe in it, other people are going to believe in it, so really believe in yourself and do the best you can and things will go well for you.”

Simpson urged anyone like Aanikh who has an idea to approach the city with it.

“We want to work with you and we’re going to provide tools and lessons on how you might proceed in doing that,” said Simpson. “So we welcome any insight or any thoughts or ideas and we’ll help you develop those ideas.”

Ms. Kooner and Ms. Grewal’s Classroom

Today we had a guest speaker, Aanikh Kler, the creator of the Undr the Radr app featured on Dragon’s Den come talk to our class about social entrepreneurship.  He talked about the importance of believing in your dreams, being persistent, the importance of school and giving back to the community.