Each year, thousands of volunteers, sponsors, celebrities and supporters demonstrate the spirit of generosity through their volunteer work, advocacy initiatives, leadership, media coverage, and philanthropy in communities across Canada. The World Vision Heroes for Children Awards are our opportunity to celebrate individuals who have a heart for children and for their extraordinary efforts to change the world. This year’s recipients will be recognised in the areas of Christian faith in action, volunteering, starting a movement, using their voice to amplify the needs of children, and for their generosity.
Meet the incredible recipients of this year’s Heroes for Children Awards...
Voice of Children Award
The Honorable Marie-Claude Bibeau, currently the Minister of International Development, is known for opening the halls of power to young people. Last June, after listening to the voices of girls and at the urging of grassroots organizations such as World Vision, Minister Bibeau championed education for girls in crises to Canada’s G7 presidency. This led to ground-breaking financial and political commitments from the government and partners. Frequently travelling to the field, she is a passionate advocate for the rights of women and girls around the world.
Minister Bibeau has helped refocus Canada’s international assistance towards helping the poorest and most vulnerable people and on supporting fragile states. She advocates for actions and initiatives that empower women and girls, and she defends their rights. She is also at the heart of Canada’s strategy for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development objectives both at home and around the world.
Rodney Blyth truly embodies persistence and commitment to create a lasting change in the lives of children. He is a retired school teacher from Moncton, New Brunswick, a 40-year child sponsor and a long-time supporter of the 30-hour famine. In the summer of 2018, he walked 6000 km across Canada to raise funds for Raw Hope, World Vision’s program that supports children living in the world’s most dangerous places. He engaged with churches, schools and media, sharing the message about World Vision’s work and raised more than $63,000.
Rob Charach and the Linden Christian School
Ruth Roberts Award
Rob Charach sees the potential for youth to be true agents of change. For nearly 20 years, he has been the principal of Linden Christian School, one of the largest Christian schools in Western Canada where students have a city-wide ministry working alongside 100 churches. The Winnipeg-based school helps students grow to be devoted followers of Jesus Christ and compassionate community members. Rob and the school have partnered with World Vision for the past 13 years, raising more than $200,000 to impact communities around the globe.
Dr. Ken McMillan Award
Don Posterski – Dr. Ken McMillan Don Posterski helped change Canadian attitudes about caring for the poor. As an author, speaker and thought leader, Don used his voice and gift for communication to support the church in its mission.
After serving as the Vice President of National Programs at World Vision Canada, he was the Director of Christian Commitments for the World Vision global partnership where he broadened World Vision’s reach to Christian communities across denominations and around the world. Recently, Don was the executive director of the Barrett Family Foundation, where he provided counsel as the Barretts sought to realize their vision for philanthropy. Don died in 2018 leaving a remarkable legacy of Christian service.
Robert and Francine Barrett
Power of Generosity Award
Through their remarkable generosity, Robert and Francine Barrett and their family have a heart for the potential of young people. For the past 50 years, Robert has found success by building an industry-leading company while inspiring other leaders, entrepreneurs and family businesses. Through the Barrett Family Foundation, Bob and Francine have supported business and skills education programs in Canadian schools and in 2016 looked beyond our borders.
The Barretts and World Vision have launched Jovenes Super Pilas or Youth Ready in El Salvador and Honduras, two countries where many youth face violence and limited opportunity. Youth Ready is already transforming the lives of thousands of young people, giving them an alternative to joining gangs and empowering them through learning and skills training to build a future for themselves.
Dr. Bob Pierce Humanitarian Award
Kevin Jenkins is the President and CEO of World Vision International. During his time as president, Kevin has transformed how World Vision works internationally through his inspired and faithful leadership, including the launch of Our Promise 2030, our new global strategy. A proud Canadian, Kevin had a remarkable 25-year career as one of Canada’s leading business leaders, including as CEO of major companies like Canadian Airlines. He served on the Board of World Vision Canada until stepping into the role of international president in 2009. In his role, he has engaged at the highest level with leaders in humanitarian organisations, government, and United Nations, and providing thought leadership to some of the most significant issues affecting our sector. He also successfully led the World Vision Partnership through an exciting time of transformational change—all while ensure we stayed focused on our mission, vision and Christian identity. As Kevin steps down from his role, he is leaving a remarkable legacy for our organisation, and we are honoured to recognise him for his years of faithful service.