23-year-old awarded Meritorious Service Cross for work in Haiti

When Morgan Wienberg travelled to Haiti to volunteer after the devastating 2010 earthquake, the recent high school graduate had every intention of returning home to attend university.

See Full Article

The Whitehorse, Yukon native was placed in a locally-run orphanage that housed 75 children. Wienberg says she wasn’t there long, before she felt the desire to turn that visit into something more long-term.

"I became so attached to the children," Wienberg told CTV's Canada AM on Monday.

Wienberg has spent much of the last five years in Haiti, and she is now being recognized for her work helping the country’s most vulnerable children.

The 23-year-old has returned to Canada to receive the prestigious Governor General's Meritorious Service Cross for her work in Haiti. The award recognizes an activity that has been performed in an "outstandingly professional manner, or with uncommonly high standards." Previous winners include Olympian Clara Hughes and astronaut Chris Hadfield.

Wienberg said the conditions she witnessed in the Haitian orphanage were horrific.

"You weren't sure if a child would die in the next three days," she said.

Wienberg said she eventually learned that many of the children in the orphanage had families who were alive in Haiti, but had given up their children in hopes that they'd receive more opportunities.

"Those parents who are struggling in poverty think their children would get that (international) aid if they're in an orphanage," she said.

Wienberg said she witnessed children being "horrifically abused and neglected," and felt the need to act.

In 2011, at age 18, she co-founded Little Footprints, Big Steps in Haiti. The organization now operates two safe houses, for children rescued from illegitimate orphanages or life on the street, and provides them with a "family setting" that includes shelter, food, basic education and health care.

Wienberg said, since launching Little Footprints, Big Steps, 120 children have been reunited with their families.

Wienberg has also been a keynote speaker at the United Nations Youth Assembly and been awarded the Rotary International Paul Harris Humanitarian Award and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.

She said she's excited about the Meritorious Service Cross and hopes the award shines a light on the organization.


Latest Canada & World News

  • Russia readies to hand Putin new term in presidential vote

    World News CTV News
    MOSCOW -- Russian voters are gearing up for a presidential election Sunday that Vladimir Putin is guaranteed to win. They are facing unusually intense pressure to vote, to grant him a convincing new mandate to pursue his nationalist strategy. Source
  • Purported prison ID of gangster 'Whitey' Bulger up for sale

    World News CTV News
    BOSTON -- The purported prison identification card of Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger is on the auction block. Lelands.com is selling the badge, which features Bulger's picture, birthday and Federal Bureau of Prisons ID number. Source
  • Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

    Canada News CTV News
    Montreal police are spending another day searching backyards and going door to door in the search for a 10-year-old boy who has been missing for days. Police spokeswoman Andree-Anne Picard says officers expect to finish that portion of the search later today. Source
  • Like a 'wall of hate': Calgary neighbourhood sick of spring-related stink

    Canada News CTV News
    Spring is in the air in a southwest Calgary neighbourhood, but the change of season has some residents turning up their noses over a putrid smell wafting into their basements. Bob Clark describes the odour as a “wall of hate” and not unlike an outhouse. Source
  • Trump lauds firing of ex-top FBI official Andrew McCabe as 'great day'

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he has fired Andrew McCabe, a former FBI deputy director who was a regular target of U.S. President Donald Trump's anger and criticism, just two days before McCabe's scheduled retirement date. Source
  • Vladimir Putin's power: From mean streets to Kremlin

    World News CTV News
    MOSCOW -- As a kid in a dismal Soviet communal apartment, Vladimir Putin was a scrapper who dreamed of being an operator -- diligently training in martial arts and boldly walking into a KGB office to inquire about how to become a spy. Source
  • How journalism prompted a closer look at 14 deaths in the U.K. with Russian connections

    World News CBC News
    In the wake of the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter in the U.K. earlier this month — an incident that the governments of the U.K., U.S., France, Germany and Canada now say it is "highly likely" were ordered by the Kremlin — the deaths of more than a dozen others in the U.K. Source
  • Answer to cities' parking woes could be found at fire hydrants: fire chief

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- A coalition of firefighters, city engineers and administrators is proposing a novel solution to city parking woes. Surrey Fire Chief Len Garis says shrinking the no-stopping zone around fire hydrants could create hundreds of new parking spots in congested cities. Source
  • 'If you have our child, bring him back to us': Search continues for missing Montreal boy

    Canada News CBC News
    The search resumes for a missing 10-year-old boy this weekend in Montreal, after a vigil rooted in hope made its way to the doorstep of his family home late Friday. Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou was last seen Monday afternoon after leaving his home in Ahuntsic-Cartierville to walk to a friend's house. Source
  • North Korean minister meets again with Swedish counterpart

    World News CTV News
    STOCKHOLM -- North Korea's foreign minister met again Saturday with his Swedish counterpart amid growing speculation about a possible meeting in the Scandinavian country between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Source