Motivated to pursue a career in medicine, Puru Panchal is currently in his second year of Bachelor’s of Health Sciences Program at McMaster University. As an active member of his community, Puru volunteers with organizations including the Royal Canadian Air Cadet program from which he earned his pilot’s license. Puru also assists with clinical cardiology research at Hamilton General Hospital. His dedication to social enterprise has allowed him to learn from the Active Citizens Social Enterprise programme and collaborate with his peers to tackle issues facing youth in downtown Hamilton. With an academic focus in global health, Puru has profound interests in health policy, patient care and the social determinants of health within his own community.
The Hamilton Youth Advisory is a proposed social enterprise that aims to tackle the two largest issues facing young people between the ages of 12 and 18 in downtown Hamilton: youth mental health and youth unemployment. The Advisory seeks to recruit two teams of high school student leaders to address these issues. By partnering with the City of Hamilton and the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, this social enterprise seeks to channel funds towards public media campaigns regarding these issues and to sponsor both teams, each of which will participate in volunteering and mentoring exercises with vulnerable youth in the city. The Advisory is interested in providing a platform for various organizations that have grassroots connections with local youth to discuss strengths in community outreach strategies. The Advisory is also committed to organizing an annual symposium where relevant stakeholders, including leaders from community organizations, local government officials and school board trustees, can discuss strategies to combat issues facing youth.
By contributing to the social fabric between community organizations, their vulnerable youth beneficiaries, and city, the Hamilton Youth Advisory aims to tackle SDGs #10 and #11 to help reduce inequalities and to build sustainable communities within Hamilton for vulnerable young people.