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...
Mr. Alex Trebek
Voice for Children Award
Alex Trebek, best known for his work as host of Jeopardy!, first connected with World Vision during the Ethiopian famine in the 1980s. He was so moved by World Vision’s reports on that crisis that he picked up the phone and asked how he could help. Over the years, Alex travelled to many developing countries to learn about the challenges children were facing and shared his experiences and children’s stories with Canadians. Alex genuinely cared for the needs of vulnerable girls and boys. And when he spoke, he inspired people to act. While it’s difficult to summarize the totality of Alex Trebek’s life and accomplishments, World Vision estimates that his influence has had a positive impact on well over one million children around the world. We were so saddened by his passing this year but are pleased to recognize his many years of service through this posthumous award.
The Honourable Dr. Jean Augustine
Ruth Roberts Award
Jean Augustine is a trailblazer devoted to the pursuit of social justice. In 1993, she made history as the first African-Canadian woman to be elected to Canada’s House of Commons as a Member of Parliament, where she worked to pass legislation to protect disadvantaged low-income families in Canada and around the world, and later served in Cabinet. Originally from Grenada, Dr. Augustine immigrated to Canada in 1960 and worked as an educator and school principal, shaping the lives of hundreds of children in Toronto, all while deeply involved in grassroots efforts in the community. Today, she remains involved with numerous community activities related to social and racial justice, as well as the Jean Augustine Centre for Young Women’s Empowerment.
Dr. Terry Leblanc
Ken McMillan Award
Terry LeBlanc, a Mi’kmaq-Acadian, is the Executive Director of Indigenous Pathways and the founding Chair and current Director of the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies (NAIITS), an indigenous learning community. For more than 38 years, he has worked in Native North American and global Indigenous contexts as an educator in theology, cultural anthropology and community development practice, helping the church and communities build a better world for children facing injustice. For seven of those years, between 1994-2001, Dr. Leblanc gave support to World Vision’s work with Indigenous communities. In addition to serving as an adjunct professor at Tyndale University in Toronto, Dr. Leblanc also teaches at George Fox University and Seminary in Portland, Oregon, and Acadia University and Divinity College in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
Rev. Verner Drost and Dr. Bernie Zebarth
FreddyLink began in 2009 when a few local leaders wondered aloud if the residents of Fredericton, New Brunswick, could join together to help fight global issues like poverty. The group approached World Vision to partner and determined they wanted to connect with a community in Haiti. Over the years, this unique partnership between the city of Fredericton, two communities in Haiti’s central plateau region, and World Vision has helped thousands of children and families get access to clean water, supported economic empowerment programs like woodworking, sewing and animal husbandry, education, health, nutrition, hygiene and child protection. Rev. Drost, church liaison, and Dr. Zebarth, the project coordinator, have given hundreds of volunteer hours to support the FreddyLink initiative.
Mr. Malcolm MacKillop
Power of Generosity Award
Malcolm MacKillop is a successful trial lawyer, speaker, professor of law, and author. Throughout his 30-year career, he has consistently sought out opportunities to advocate for important causes. In 2009, Malcolm founded Lawyers International Food Enterprise (LIFE), a not-for-profit organization raising awareness of child poverty in Africa and raising money from the legal community to support The Stephen Lewis Foundation and World Vision. He has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to support health programming primarily in Tanzania. His passion and commitment have meant that many mothers and children have access to the health care and nutrition they need for a better start in life.