Alexandra Foto

Alexandra Foto profile picture

Event Edition:
WOW VIII - 2016

In Alex’s own words from her Youth Ambassador application, of why she is passionate about justice and helping others:

“The question of why do I do what I do is often one I get, but seldom have an answer for. I do it because this is what I feel I am meant to do. I truly believe I was put on the Earth to do, so I do it.”

Alex Mum: I am so honored to have Alex included in this. The day she passed away I went into her memory box and found her goals written by her. Her number one goal was “go to Waterloo and Shine”. It’s written on the plaque by the tree and bench dedicated to her on the Waterloo Campus.

My daughter was a very special human being. She was determined at anything she tried, never took NO for an answer, stood up for herself, and for others and followed her truth. A lot of people ask what it was that ignited her empathy for others and her passion for justice. The truth is I think she always had it in her and I would like to think we nurtured it by supporting her ideas and encouraging her to always follow her passion. At about the age of 9 Alex came went to Colombia. We took a trip with the family and Alex got exposed to true poverty on that trip. She met a young boy who worked on one of the farms we visited and was troubled by how the people in the main house had beds and this young boy at the age of 5 slept on boxes as a mattress. She always kept a picture of him close to her. From there Alex became fascinated with injustice, particularly towards children. She got involved with the Social Justice Club at her school and brought 30 Hour Famine to her school. She ran 6 consecutive famines and raised thousands of dollars for World Vision, but more important to her was that she brought awareness. For Alex it was important that it be an event where people’s hearts and eyes would be opened so she would get speakers to attend who could talk about social justice issues facing our community, have a count down and made sure everyone attended her assembly. She then got involved with Free the Children, an international charity working both domestically and internationally to empower and enable youth to become agents of change. Me to We holds an annual Me to We day and Alex quickly became involved with them, volunteering with the organization. She then decided that London needed a mini We Day and organized it for her school and invited other schools to attend. She even managed to get a famous singer to come out and perform at her event. Alex’s first mission trip was to Kenya. What I remember most about her trip was when she said “we complicate it, we can help even if it’s one person at a time”. Coming back from Kenya was hard for Alex. She struggled living in a world of the haves and have not but she kept focused on her dream of making the world better. What I loved about my daughter was how well rounded she was. She was a competitive diver, competitive cheerleader, was involved in dozens of school clubs including Leadership and Peer support. She ran track (not very fast because she had short legs but she ran anyway), she maintained and 85+ average, she made time for friends who to this day check in on me and visit her weekly at the cemetery. She made time for her grandmother, she loved country music (we try not to hold that against her) and of course hardly slept. All at the same time continuing her passion for social justice issues. The day following her death World Vision wrote:

SHE MADE US BELIEVE, THAT A BETTER WORLD IS POSSIBLE

If you had the opportunity to meet Alex, travelled with her, or have been impacted by her life, you would undoubtedly know that her generosity, kindness, love and selfless nature were among but a few of the characteristics that described my amazing daughter

A few highlights from Alex’s journey

  • went to Kenya for a month to build teachers quarters
  • went to Mexico to work with children in an orphanage
  • leadership trip to Arizona
  • Going into her second year of University at Waterloo University, studying International Development
  • founded the World Vision Club at the University of Waterloo
  • Led 6 consecutive 30 Hour Famine events
  • World Vision Brand Ambassador
  • Participated in World Vision Leadership Trip to the Dominican Republic
  • On the National Famine Team
  • Hosted Girl Rising screening in London – bringing awareness to human trafficking
  • Participated in World Vision’s North American Regional Forum
  • Launched University of Waterloo World Vision Club. It now hasn180 Members.
  • Received Ontario Volunteer Award 2014
  • Participated in World Vision Cup event in Brazil – a forum to discuss child poverty issues around the world
  • Speaker at numerous events such as: Count Me In Conference and Today’s Teens
  • Participant of the open space retreat which created the youth engagement strategy for World Vision Canada.
  • In January of 2015 she was honoured among 5 iconic Canadians with Hero for Children award.
  • honoured by Community living London as a Hero in our community
  • received the Angel of Legacy award in 2015

In the words of Sherry McConell, Director of Youth Leadership with World Vision, Alex was a beautiful, compassionate, devoted advocate, dear friend, creative leader, encourager, beloved daughter and champion of the poor. All who knew Alex, knew that she was a world changer, in reality, now we see that she was one who was placed on this planet to change multiple worlds.