World Vision recognizes Canadian “heroes for children”

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  • Heroes recognized in annual awards ceremony on Jan. 23
Five Canadian “heroes” received World Vision Heroes for Children awards for their commitment and passion in helping the world’s most vulnerable girls and boys.
(January 24, 2022)
Five Canadian “heroes” received World Vision Heroes for Children awards for their commitment and passion in helping the world’s most vulnerable girls and boys.
Dr. Joelene Huber, a physician, author and on-air medical contributor, received the Courage Award in recognition of her years of leadership as a pediatrician and her public engagement and advocacy efforts for the health of mothers and new-born babies as a volunteer through the ENRICH:1000 Day Journey grant. The six-year program supported women and children’s health and nutrition in some of the highest-needs communities in four African and Asian countries, with the support of the Government of Canada and the partnership of World Vision.
Dr. Huber says her journey to Bangladesh to see the impact of the program will leave a lasting impression – abroad and at home.
“Seeing the program’s impact and challenges faced by parents to support the health of their children truly enriched my life, expanded my global awareness, and enhanced my perspective in my care for patients and families in Canada,” says Huber.
Sara Hildebrand received the Ruth Roberts Award, in recognition of an individual who has started or contributed to a movement to help improve the lives of children and families. A resident of Stoney Creek, Ontario, Hildebrand is the Founder and Director of Millennium Kids – an ongoing youth movement that, in 2021, was a key partner in the “Love My Neighbour” campaign that encouraged faith communities to donate thousands of COVID vaccines to vulnerable children around the world through UNICEF’s GiveAVax program.
The Rev. Dr. Ken McMillan Award, recognizing an individual who has demonstrated Christian faith in action, a heart for leadership and a commitment to the church was awarded to Rev. Dr. Gerald (Gerry) Michalski of Soul Sanctuary in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Michalski has inspired his congregation and community to care for those in need. His church partnered with World Vision on its Global 6k water initiative and was the first church in Canada to launch Chosen, a new way of supporting child sponsorship.
Onome Ako, CEO, Action Against Hunger, received the Voice for Children Award, recognizing an individual who has used their public voice or role to lift and promote the needs of children and families. Action Against Hunger is an international humanitarian organization that fights hunger and its root causes worldwide. With over 15 years of experience in international development, Ako has led initiatives in more than a dozen countries with organizations including World Vision, AfricaRecruit and UNESCO – Regional Bureau for Education in Africa. As chair of the Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health, she is a leader in advocating for the critical health needs of children.
The late Evon Hedley received the Power of Generosity Award in recognition of an individual who has been philanthropic with their time, influence and gifts to improve the lives of children and families. As a young man in 1937, Hedley started his career in ministry with Youth for Christ in Brantford, Ontario. He went on to provide key leadership in several faith-based and charitable organizations in Canada, the United States and around the world. Hedley was one of the first leaders of World Vision in Canada, joining in 1963 and helping the organization get its start—and inspiring thousands of Canadians to be generous toward programs for children. He actively mentored leaders until he was 100 years old. Hedley died in 2018. Members of his family accepted the award on his behalf.
“At World Vision, we have a heart for children, especially the world’s most vulnerable,” says Michael Messenger, President and CEO, World Vision Canada. “We are committed to ensuring that every girl and boy has the chance for a full life, each living up to their God-given potential, free of fear and full of opportunity. We are so grateful for and celebrate this year’s award winners as our partners, leaders and friends, as heroes who stand with us to fight poverty and injustice and help build a better world for children.”