Creating futures without limits
When he was in Grade 12, Saurabh Bangar had a friend who was an incredibly dedicated student with the enviable grades to prove it.
"He had an average of about 98 or 99 per cent," Bangar recalls. "He had phenomenal marks."
With a passion for medicine, he had high hopes of making a difference in the world. His finances, however, were not as far-reaching as his aspirations.
That's when it struck Bangar: "People put in so much time to school, but don't have the financial means to pursue their big dreams. I want to help out these people."
Bangar, a Queen Elizabeth Secondary grad who now attends SFU, rallied some friends and they made and sold customized T-shirts, giving out the profits as scholarships to Surrey schools.
"Then we realized that maybe that instead of giving out small amounts, like $500, we could give out bigger funds. And the only way we could do that was to get support from organizations."
Now called SOAR Philanthropic Society, Bangar and eight other post-secondary students registered their group as a non-profit last year. They hope to even the playing field so promising youth aren't hindered by financial concerns.
Last September, the society held an event which attracted 275 attendees and included guest speakers, entrepreneurs and performers. The evening ended with $5,000 in profits, which SOAR (Success, Opportunity, Achievement, Results) will divvy up between five deserving Surrey graduates this year.
Bangar hopes it's only the beginning.
There are four fundraising events planned for this year, one of which will be a large conference geared toward high school students, with high-profile guest speakers. A second event will be a dinner and dance. Profits from each fundraiser will bolster scholarships for future high school graduates.
"Our biggest goal is to be the biggest non-profit organization that could one day fund a student's entire post-secondary education," said Bangar, SOAR's president and CEO. "Hopefully we get there. We're working towards that."
Donations and partnerships are welcome. Information, as well as applications to apply for the scholarships, are available at www.soarps.org