The 22-year-old Surrey’s 25 Under 25 Award recipient is the co-founder of SPARK Foundation.
Amandeep Boparai originally co-started SPARK Foundation in high school to teach youth that they have a voice. Today, she is leading a team of 12 staff and board directors, and over 140 volunteers. With Amandeep’s business and leadership acumen, SPARK Foundation was recognized with Canada 150 award in leadership and gained support from United Nations for its Climate Change Challenge program. The 22-year-old was recently recognized as one of Surrey’s 25 Under 25 Award winners. “Receiving the 25 Under 25 Award means a lot to me! I co-founded SPARK with Rochelle as a way to teach youth around us that they all had the power to make positive changes in our world. It feels great to see the journey unfold and come to fruition with the youth that have gone through our program,” says the business student at the University Of Fraser Valley (UFV).
SPARK Foundation was created by Amandeep and Rochelle Prasad. “We were both avid conference attenders and would often find that most conferences relayed the same information in the exact same way but with different speakers. There was rarely any exciting new information taught to us, and rarely anything that interested us,” recalls Amandeep. The duo therefore decided to host a mega series camp, to find out what the youth wanted to hear and do. “A place where we could hear the ideas of youth for projects they think our community and world desperately needed and give them the resources to put those projects into action. We wanted to show youth that they had the potential to change whatever it was in the world that they didn’t like or thought could be better,” adds Amandeep.
SPARK’s life education programs have helped empower over 5,000 individuals. For SPARK, Amandeep has organized mega series camps and helped develop the mini-series. She also helped plan and implement tons of fundraisers that reduced the cost of the camps so that more youth were able to afford the opportunity to attend the mega series camp. A major project that SPARK is currently working on is revamping the mini-series workshop. “We are completely changing how our workshops currently are and adding additional workshops!” shares Amandeep, “One of the workshops we are adding is focused around the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals where we’ll be focusing on raising awareness for 15 of the 17 goals. These new workshops will be launched in September and will be bigger and better than before!”
The young co-founder hopes to see SPARK workshops being held across Canada and the world. “We strive to see our workshops in school districts everywhere and have thousands of youth go through our programs!” says the award winner, who regularly volunteers her time at various organizations. Amandeep states that her role models are her parents, who taught her to give back. “They made sure growing up that we (Amandeep and her sisters) understood our privilege and used that privilege to help others. Throughout my life, I’ve seen them give back in countless ways and I strive to be like them.”
Amandeep is currently pursuing a BBA with a major in finance at the UVF. Her future plan is to become an entrepreneur and own a successful and thriving business. Her advice to youngsters is “to recognize that you have a voice and put that voice to use. If you see a problem, identify it, and try to find the solution.”