By Denise Bacon

A glimpse of our next generation of leaders can be seen in Varuhn Anandaraj, CCRA’s Youth and Social Media Representative. Varuhn started in this role in the summer of his Grade 9 year at Mowat in 2018. He was following in his sister Lakshmi’s footsteps after she moved to Kingston to attend Queen’s University. She left him with big shoes to fill.

Conversations at their home often included Lakshmi’s stories about what CCRA was doing in Centennial, how events came together, and how CCRA communicated with residents. Varuhn witnessed his sister’s involvement and enthusiasm and became curious, wanting to learn more.

As a 15-year-old, Varuhn embraced the role within CCRA as he grew into his portfolio. He learned about how to effectively use social media channels and applications, with mentorship from Lakshmi and Jake Forsyth, another graduate of CCRA’s Youth portfolio.

Varuhn understands the youth demographic‘s reliance on social media for information. He designed posters and flyers for online CCRA publications to attract viewers to the websites while developing his own creative talents.

Within Mowat, Varuhn acts as a community ambassador by telling his friends about volunteering and CCRA events. He had won a place in the Performance Arts Program at Mowat through audition while in Grade 8 and he played alto sax with the Mowat orchestra all through high school.

While music is a big part of his Mowat life, Varuhn also plays on the Mowat Co-ed Varsity Volleyball team. He was excited about the possibility of the currently undefeated Mowat team to win the City Championship. While playing music and volleyball, Varuhn remained an honour student. This year, he earned a prestigious entry into the Computer Engineering program at University of Waterloo in the fall.

Varuhn is quiet and personable with a big heart. He gives a lot of credit for everything he has achieved to his mom and dad, Thevaki and Anand, who are happy that Varuhn will be attending their alma mater in Waterloo. They are Varuhn’s greatest supporters.

Varuhn said he could count on their help with math and science, and to drive him to his other competitive volleyball team practices in Markham and tournaments around the province, and to his job at a retirement home in Brooklin. Varuhn relaxes at home sometimes by playing music with Lakshmi on violin and his younger brother on cello.

Varuhn is grateful for the experience he has gained through his role at CCRA. His confidence grew as he sat around the table (online, primarily) with the adult CCRA board members. He was able to “beat his nerves” about presenting to grown-ups as he often received positive feedback for the work he did for CCRA.

Now, Varuhn is comfortable in speaking with people of various ages and backgrounds. The seniors at the retirement home where Varuhn works enjoy chatting to a confident young man with a gentle approach and a willing ear.

The CCRA board members extend their sincere thanks to Varuhn for his contributions to the Centennial community and wish him continued success at the University of Waterloo.