- Who am I:My name is Neshanth Shanmugalingam and I am a Program Manager at the South Asian Autism Awareness Centre(SAAAC). I completed my undergrad at the University of Toronto with a Specialist Honours Degree in Mental Health Studies. I have also completed the Ontario Graduate Certificate Program for Autism and Behaviour Sciences.
- What is my passion in life: Mental health is a topic that has been dear to my heart ever since I was a kid. At a young age, a good friend of mine was affected by mental health and it was confusing for me to understand. Since then, I wanted to better understand mental health so I could help those that have been impacted by it. For the past 7 years, I have been working with individuals with autism and their families.
- Why am I here: I am here to defeat ignorance, embrace differences and conquer stigmas associated with autism.
- What does philanthropy mean to me: I am a big believer in equality. Over the past years, I have seen many populations that have been marginalized due to a variety of reasons. I want to make sure that there are people out there to advocate for these individuals but also teach these individuals and their families how to advocate for themselves.
- What impact do I want to make as part of the AS2YP family: I want to continue to build awareness around autism. It is important for the public to better understand autism so that stigmas and barriers can be broken. I want help identify the leaders in our community so they can promote equality and welfare amongst all.
- If I could travel anywhere in the world with a knapsack, a journal and my favourite chocolate bar, where would it be: I would love to travel to the Northwest Territories so I could enjoy the beautiful landscape.