Torontonian Of The Year Nominee: KATE McGILLIVRAY
Kanwar Singh Saini
For the second year in a row, CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) Radio's ‘Metro Morning’ went looking for the Torontonian of the year.
The call was out for Toronto residents who are making a positive impact in their communities.
Nominee: Kanwar Anit Singh Saini
Kanwar Singh is a speech language pathologist who used his skills to help newcomers to Canada learn to communicate.
During the influx of newcomers from Syria last year, he put together a response team to work with families and answer questions from parents about language acquisition.
"Childhood speech and language is a pretty big deal, especially when you're dealing with psychological or even physical trauma," he said.
Kanwar doesn't stop there. The response team is just one of the many projects he has on the go.
Take BuddyUpTO, a network he created that links Torontonians who might not feel safe out on their own with another person or group to do things with.
He was inspired to start BuddyUpTO, "because of that spark of violence towards people of colour, women who wear headscarves, men and women in turbans, trans folk, women in general," he said.
This way, he said, people who feel unsafe have someone with whom they can do errands or attend social functions.
Kanwar also helps run a hot food and clothing giveaway in Moss Park and provides speech and language services to parents at the 519, a community centre at Church Street and Wellesley Street East.
He said the fuel for his projects comes from his own life.
"I'm a gay male of colour who wears a turban. You would think this is the nexus of all things great in Toronto. Massive gay community, big Punjabi Sikh population. But from my perspective we have a lot of work to do still," he said.
"Where I see there is a need to support or share, that's what I like to do."
[Courtesy: CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) News. Edited for sikhchic.com]
December 22, 2016