Lake Country human rights leader honoured at Vernon school

Lake Country human rights leader honoured at Vernon school

Alaina Podmorow, 22, was inducted into Mission Hill Elementary’s Hall of Fame

Alaina Podmorow was just nine years old when she first helped bring human rights to girls in Afghanistan. Now 22, she stopped by at a Vernon school to receive a special honour, and to show students they’re not too young to make a difference.

Mission Hill Elementary School inducted Podmorow to it’s Hall of Fame recently in honour of the work done by Little Women for Little Women in Afghanistan, a non-profit she founded when she was a student in Lake Country.

“It is such an honour to be here today,” Podmorow said to the students sitting attentively in the school gym.

“I’ve gotten the opportunity to see that there is just so much greatness in this school and so many hearts that are so full and so willing to give, and to make the world a little bit better.”

Podmorow began her work in human rights in 2006 with a silent auction to raise $750 — enough to fund a teacher in Afghanistan for one year. Her fundraiser ended up raising enough for four teachers’ one-year wages.

Since then, her initiative has spread far beyond her nine-year-old imagination.

“When we first started it was really just one small team of kids in an elementary school, and through the years I’ve really gained momentum and started teams across B.C., across Canada, even into the States,” she said.

As the school’s eighth and youngest inductee, she joins a list of standout individuals from the area that includes muralist Michelle Loughery, On Ouchs and family, singer-songwriter Justin Hines and athletes Sonja Gaudet, Josh Dueck, Larry Kwong and Camille Martens.

Students at Mission Hill will be doing some fundraising of their own to help Podmorow’s cause.

“To support Alaina’s charity, we will be having a bake sale in January,” said Sylvie Drinkwater during the assembly. “Hopefully we can bake a difference and help girls in Afghanistan get what they so desperately want and need: an education.”

Some Mission School students have already demonstrated a likeness to Podmorow, having recently returned from the annual Me to We Day in Vancouver. Me to We helps fund development projects such as schools, water infrastructure and healthcare by donating half its profits through its WE Charity.

Amolak Mann has been to the past two WE Days. At the assembly he told his schoolmates about Toronto Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia, whose story of facing discrimination had a strong impact on him at the event.

“My life has been changed because of WE Day,” he said.

Podmorow has already received a number of honours in her young life — the ME to WE award in 2008, the Huggable Hero award in 2010, and the “Top Teen Philanthropist” in Canada award sponsored by Mackenzie Investments in 2012, to name a few.

She was also made Honorary Youth Ambassador for the inaugural International Day of the Girl in October 2012.

At the close of the ceremony Podmorow was surrounded by Mission Hill students, many of them the same age as her when she first started down this path, and all of them wanting to share a moment with her.

“I got to spend a few moments this morning with some pretty awesome kids,” she said. “It is such an honour.”

All funds raised through Little Women go towards its partner organization, Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, in support of projects created and managed by Afghan women or communities. For more information or to donate, visit cw4wafghan.ca. To learn more about Little Women, visit littlewomenforlittlewomen.com.

READ MORE: Okanagan Indian Band conducting study for new school

READ MORE: Outdated Vernon school library gets a boost with books


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Vernon swimming pool is closed Friday. (morning star file photo)
Swim, skate and play fees rise 5% in Vernon

Weekend hours also reduced as rec centre struggles with fewer people and fewer funds

A member of the Okanagan Mission Secondary School community has tested positive for COVID-19. (Google Maps)
Another COVID-19 case confirmed at Okanagan Mission Secondary school

Interior Health has confirmed a member of the school community tested positive for the virus

A concept rendering of the proposed Costco at the corner of Baron, Leckie and Springfield roads. (WSP Global)
Contentious Kelowna Costco relocation moved to public hearing

Costco looking to move less than a kilometre away to build a larger store with more parking, gas bar

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
104 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

IH is reporting the new numbers since Friday, Nov. 20

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

7-year-old Mackenzie Hodge from Penticton sent a hand-written letter to premiere John Horgan asking if she’d be able to see her elf, Ralph under the new coronavirus restrictions. (John Horgan / Twitter)
Elf on the shelf an acceptable house guest B.C. premier tells Okanagan girl

A 7-year-old from Penticton penned a letter asking if she’d be allowed to see her elf this year

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

RCMP pictured at a motor vehicle incident during snowy conditions. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
B&E, stolen car in Vernon lands Whitehorse man in cuffs

Suspect takes off on foot in attempts to evade arrest

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Penticton Search and Rescue along with the Penticton Fire Department located and airlifted an injured 21-year-old female hiker Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. (Mike Biden photo)
Penticton search and rescue airlift injured hiker off mountain

There has been an unprecedented amount of calls for search and rescue this year

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read