Saturday, June 6, 2020

Jasleen Bahia: The Leader Who Gives back

Harjan Padda, 24 Jul, 2019

    Whether on the basketball court, classroom or in the community, the 17-year-old has made tremendous strides towards creating a better future for herself and the community around her.

    Jasleen Bahia demonstrates excellence in all aspects of her life. Whether it’s on the basketball court, in the classroom or in the community, Jasleen has made tremendous strides towards creating a better future for herself and more importantly the community around her.

    Bahia is a standout basketball player at Britannia Secondary School. She was the team captain this season as a senior and helped guide the team to win the Lower Mainland Girls AA Championship. Earlier in the year, Britannia had lost to #1 seed St. Thomas More, however they fought back to beat them in the regional final and secure their berth in the provincial championship. Bahia was an All-Star for the regional tournament, an impressive accomplishment for a player who had only played on the team for this one season.

    Bahia revels in the progression of this team and remarks how “the hard work we put in as a team pushed us to the next level. What made this season great was our improvements on the court and that we were having fun as a team doing it.” The basketball star appreciates the close-knit nature of the team and their positive energy definitely made the season a success.

    Although her athleticism warrants considerable praise, her work outside of the gym has been even more impressive. Bahia was recently awarded a Loran Scholarship valued at $100,000; Loran Scholarship is won by the best and brightest students in Canada who display good character, autonomy and leadership. Of over 5,000 applicants and multiple stages, 35 students are selected, one of whom was Bahia. She shares how “it still hasn’t sunk in yet. To see how I was chosen at each stage and then awarded with this prestigious scholarship, it has been a surreal experience.”

    Bahia’s work in the community is highlighted by an educational program she created called Biz Wiz. The importance of the program was brought to light by the high poverty rate in her neighbourhood as the stigma around financial literacy has led to kids not gaining the necessary knowledge. The young founder hopes to break down this gap and ensure that kids everywhere get a fair chance to learn about money management and financial concepts. One of Bahia’s primary motivators is to “do things out of the goodness of your heart. We should not be volunteering for some extrinsic result, it should be about helping the community.”

    This young achiever also has an important role with the Vancouver Police Department Junior Cadets program. Bahia was inspired to join the program after her older brother had a successful experience with it. She has now become the highest-ranking member of the program and is at the top of her class.

    With so many responsibilities, one can wonder how Bahia makes time for it all. She does admit that “sometimes it can be overwhelming, but if you are doing what you love, then it doesn’t feel like work at all. It becomes more fun and enjoyable when you truly care about what you are doing.”

    Looking at this long list of accomplishments, it is clear that Bahia is a leader and a role model for youth everywhere. Especially for young Punjabi girls in the community, she is further proof that you can do anything you set your mind to. She gets a lot of her passion from her mother, who raised her family as a single parent. While Bahia is very independent, she gives a ton of appreciation to her mother for her support all these years. Although she is only 17, Bahia is wise beyond her years and her advice for other kids is to “know your goals and stay committed to them. It can be difficult but if you learn to be more independent, you can accomplish your dreams.”

    Looking ahead, Bahia has aims to obtain a degree in Science and Business Administration at Western University. Her goal in life continues to revolve around giving back to the community and helping people in any way that she can.

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