New leadership to take helm in times of change

POSTED April 21, 2020

New leadership to take helm in times of change

Children Believe remains committed to continuing to help children access education as we celebrate a new beginning

By Dave Wilson, interim CEO,


“Change is the only constant in life.” 

Rarely has that phrase, coined by ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, felt so true in my life — both in the world we live and at Children Believe.

At Children Believe, we revitalized our brand late last year and celebrated 60 years of helping children access education so they can live and dream fearlessly, and now we have more big news.

We’re introducing a new CEO to our team.

Fred Witteveen (pictured), a global humanitarian leader and advocate for the world’s most vulnerable communities, is scheduled to step into the role June 15.

The Vancouver Island native grew up in Toronto where he received a Masters of Business Administration from Schulich School of Business. He’s also earned a Masters in Divinity from Calvin Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts from Calvin College, both in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Devoted to helping others, Fred has been working as a national director for World Vision in Bangladesh for the past four years, following another senior role at the organization. He’s also led at World Renew in Kenya and was the founder of Friendship Community Church in Toronto.

He’s seen a lot of need in his years working in international development at a time when global civil unrest and climate change have left many populations in a state of constant change and uncertainty. So we’re thankful to have him come aboard during this time of transition in the global community.

For many, the change brought upon us by the COVID-19 outbreak has not been easy, but I’m heartened by the good-news stories popping up in its wake.

At a recent virtual all-staff meeting, we were humbled to hear how our youth ambassadors in Paraguay have stepped up and helped support communities, alongside our program staff and partners. They’re living proof of the importance of helping young people become active, engaged citizens.

Thankfully, as noted in my blog last month, there are still no reports of children, or their families in the communities where we work, diagnosed with COVID-19.

Still, the evolving situation hasn’t been easy for many. The closures of workplaces, schools, stores and places of worship, along with other safety measures around the world, is causing anxiety in neighbourhoods where lost income and ill-equipped health facilities are too common.

It’s why we’re already stepping in to help where needed. So far, here’s a few actions we’re taking in communities where we work in Africa, Asia and the Americas:

  • providing financial support and distributing food and hygiene kits to the most vulnerable
  • supplying health centres with protective equipment
  • ramping up child-protection and psycho-social support as rising tensions increase incidences of domestic abuse
  • raising awareness about the importance of social distancing and handwashing

To learn more about how we’re providing support, or to make a donation, visit

Thank you for the care you continue to show children around the world, helping them dream fearlessly. We hope you can do the same, as you continue to adjust a new normal. Keep safe and healthy.

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Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60 years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.