She’s 11-years-old and already Hannah Taylor heads a charitable foundation that has raised $1 million to help homeless people.
The reasons are pretty simple, says the Winnipeg girl, attending a conference at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo this week for talented young Canadians.
“I have a wonderful family. I have a wonderful home. I have a fridge to go to and a bed to sleep in, and a lot of people in Winnipeg don’t,” she says. “And we all have the power to help them and we’re not. So why don’t we?”
It’s that kind of spirit that has drawn 39 prize-winning youth under 20 years of age to the leadership conference, organized by Youth in Motion and hosted by the Laurier School of Business and Economics.
Every year, the national, non-profit organization names the top 20 Canadians under 20 years of age who show leadership in improving their communities.
This conference, which ends today, brings together finallists and past winners of the Top 20 Under 20 award to network and further develop their young leadership skills. Taylor was a winner in 2006.
“There’s some unbelievable young people in this country,” said Youth in Motion co-founder Akela Peoples. Whether they’re working on a cancer cure, writing a musical or bringing clean water to families in developing countries, “they have a big dream and they won’t stop until they accomplish it.”
Taylor insists anyone can do what she’s doing.
She’s a regular person with a regular life that included a summer spent at her grandmother’s house where the cat had three kittens under the doorstep, she says.
“Follow your heart and you know you can help no matter how old or young you are.”