While most kids his age were busy cramming for finals or hanging out at the mall, Humza Nusrat was trying to help new Canadians at his school.

“A lot of them were isolated and lonely,” he said.

The 18-year-old started an intramural cricket league at his school and invited new students to join.

“Sports puts everyone on a level playing field,” he said.

Nusrat, who attends J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate Institute in Ajax, is one of five GTA teens recently awarded a $70,000 post-secondary scholarship from TD Canada Trust for community leadership.
Only 20 students from across Canada earned the award from 3,800 applicants.

Jillian Cameron of Toronto’s Earl Haig Secondary School also won. The music and dance student founded the Invisible Child group to aid Ugandan child soldiers and organized a benefit concert raising $10,000.

TD Canada Trust has awarded the Scholarships for Community Leadership for 14 years and Jane Thompson, the program’s executive director and one of the panel judges who selected the teens, said this year’s competition was stiff.

Thompson was amazed to see twin brothers Vijayabharath and Vinobharath Jeyapalan, of Markville Secondary School, both earn scholarships on their own merit.

Vino started the non-profit Youth Environmental Network of York Region and created the annual Ecological Action Conference.

Vijay is co-chair of the Markham Mayor’s Youth Task Force and organized The Amazing Markham Race to fundraise for Pathways York Region which addresses the needs of street kids. They have raised $25,000 to date.

Latif Murji of Dr. Norman Bathune Collegiate Institute in Toronto was also awareded a scholarship. The teen co-founded a Free the Children chapter; he is director of the Committee for Personal Social Responsibility and he’s active on students’ council and the Ismaili Volunteer Corps.

The $70,000 scholarship covers post-secondary tuition and living expenses and offers summer employment for the next four years.

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