2020 Young Adult
Wise and determined beyond his years, Kishon Mahen has accomplished much. He is currently studying sciences at Western University and volunteering at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. He is also a speaker for Plan Canada Because I am a Girl; his concern and passion for gender justice grew substantially as he became more aware of the disparities between men and women within his own family and culture.
As a former U8 Soccer Coach, Kishon guided a group of fifteen young, passionate athletes to success by instilling strong work ethics, collaboration, and teamwork skills. He also served as a positive role model as Head of Mentorship, training a team of eight high school mentors to facilitate and run volunteer events with their mentees, and inspiring them to overcome their fears and fulfill their leadership capacities.
In April of 2017, through an organization called L.I.G.H.T. (Lead. Inspire. Growth. Hope. Transform), Kishon was able to lead a student team in planning a social justice seminar called Visions Via Voices. The event covered topics of youth homelessness, mental health, and equity versus equality. Of the many unexpected rewards of volunteering and sharing his gifts to help others, the Visions Via Voices conference, and the grants received through L.I.G.H.T. to make the conference possible, are at the top of his list. Even more so, Kishon says that he is continually moved by the individuals who attend his many events, especially when he sees the joy and motivation on their faces following the learning and community they’ve experienced.
Kishon’s most memorable moment of giving back was Trick or Trees, the very first initiative he took in his community. On October 29, 2016, he partnered with Evergreen and the Town of Richmond Hill. Working with a group of eight high school students who were assigned to over twenty children in elementary school, he spearheaded an event that celebrated the importance of caring for the environment with the fun spirit of Halloween. Witnessing the curiosity to learn about the environment, the willingness to make a change, and the hard work everyone was putting in—doing something as simple as planting trees—truly fueled Kishon to continue his work with the community. This included launching his own research project, Enertire, which aims at creating tires that generate electricity.
Paraphrasing Drew Dudley’s *TED Talk, Kishon believes that, “We've made leadership about changing the world, and there is no world. There's only six billion understandings of it and if you change one person's understanding of it, of what they're capable of, of how much people care about them, one person’s understanding of how powerful an agent of change they can be in this world, we can change everything." This powerful insight drives the work Kishon does every single day.