Laura Vandervoort – Transforming Lives With World Vision
Born and raised in Toronto, Canada actress Laura Vandervoort is best known for her portrayal of Elena Michaels on SPACE’s hit TV series Bitten, her dynamic role as Supergirl on Smallville, and ‘Lisa’ on ABC’s series V. Though her on-screen personas are often otherworldly, as a Global Ambassador with World Vision Laura’s pursuits are much more down-to-earth.
10 years ago Laura Vandervoort began sponsoring two children through world vision Canada (WVC). Wanting to do more, in 2015 the Canadian star heightened her commitment to the non-profit by becoming a Global Ambassador. One of her first goals as an Ambassador was to venture beyond the statistics and pamphlets to experience World Vision’s life-changing work first-hand. So Laura, accompanied by her sister Sarah, journeyed to Kenya to see how World Vision is helping some of the most vulnerable children on the planet.
After a long journey they arrived in Kenya where they travelled to Marakwet County to visit a WVC funded medical clinic. There they observed the recent improvements to the maternity ward and got their first glimpse of how these advancements are enriching lives. “It was encouraging to see [how] the number of women coming to the clinic has grown. Charts lined the walls tracking many healthy births. These charts represent more children with a chance at a healthy childhood” Laura later stated in her blog.
During their trip they also ventured to the Kenyan highlands to speak with locals in one of the remote villages. Laura met mothers who shared how the availability of vaccines has reduced the death rate in the area. They also discussed how the local clinic helped them deliver their babies safely and provided them with vital information about breastfeeding and sanitation — thus ensuring their children were given a healthy start in life.
After an emotive journey Laura returned home with a deeper understanding of the transformative nature of World Vision’s work. In particular, one story of hope resonated deeply with the actress. “Sammy was our cameraman and worked with World Vision Kenya. Sammy himself used to be a child sponsored by World Vision Canada. He shared his story with me. He had such an incredible positive energy to him. Sammy’s story started on the streets as a child in Kenya to becoming a sponsored child. Now he has a family of his own, works for World Vision Kenya and aspires to be a film maker. We bonded over cameras, lenses, lighting and film making. Sammy was such an inspiration and great example of just how much WVC has done and can do” said Laura.
Laura was so moved by his story and the many others she heard in Kenya that she decided to start a charity jewelry line to support WVC. Laura’s elegant capsule collection, 11:11, can be layered, mixing golds and silver, or worn separately and is inspired by the numerology of the numbers/time 11:11. Designed by Laura and created by Melissa Lovy, this jewelry line is an innovative way to raise awareness and funds for WVC’s Program Rise Up! Daughters of India. “World Vision puts in the love and work long term with the community. When I decided to do an 11:11 limited edition charity jewelry line, I knew right away I wanted to team up with jewelry designer Melissa Lovy and have a portion of all proceeds go towards World Vision Canada and their Rise Up! Daughters of India Program” stated Laura.
Rise Up! Daughters of India is an integrated project that aims to engage Canadians, in particular the Indian community, to help Indian girls stay in school, through the provision of toilet facilities. About 63 million girls do not have access to toilet facilities in India forcing them to ‘go’ outside. A significant number of girls decide to drop out rather than risk their safety and dignity. The project launched in Laura’s hometown, Toronto, during the Panorama India Festival at Yonge-Dundas Square. The campaign encourages Canadians to visit the project website, share it with friends and family and to make a donation to help girls in India remain in school.
To learn more about the Rise Up! Daughters of India program and World Vision Canada’s other life-changing work please visit worldvision.ca.