Along with founder Dhyan Vimal, Serinda focuses her time off-screen on her international non-profit organization, Friends to Mankind, geared toward raising funds and awareness for other like-minded non-profits, focusing on issues ranging from local schools in need of supplies to helping developing countries provide shelter for victims of sex-trafficking.
"When I first got into acting, it definitely satisfied that little 3-year-old girl who wanted to get dressed up in party dresses and have that glamorous life and act and play make believe everyday. But the adult I was growing into wasn't necessarily satisfied with that. I wanted to make sure there was a tangible outcome in the world that came out of my success. The key was, 'How do I tie my success into a way that I can be giving back in one way or another?'"
"A way to do that was brought to my attention when when I was shooting Breakout Kings in Toronto. I watched a documentary on sex trafficking and it rocked my world. I was so humbled, and so ashamed that I didn't know this was happening in the sheer volume that it is. When the show finished, I grabbed a backpack and I went to Southeast Asia for a month and sat with victims of sex trafficking. I sat in orphanages and rescue shelters and was basically like, 'What do you need? What voice can I give you based on my position?'"
"My partner Dhyan Vimal for Friends to Mankind lives in Malaysia and he already had the concept for the foundation going since 2003, so I sat down with him and we modified it in a way. Through that we started a couple of awesome fundraisers, one where I throw celebrities out of planes called '18 for 18,' $18,000 for 18,000 feet."
"The idea originated when I met the girls from the Somaly Mam organization. I asked them what they needed financially and they told me they needed $8,000 for medical supplies for the girls when they are rescued. They also needed a van because what happens is when they go and rescue these girls from the brothels. They can't be borrowing cars, they can't be rescuing them in tuk-tuks, a bullet is faster than a tuk-tuk and a tuk-tuk doesn't have doors. If these girls are brave enough to be like, 'I need help,' we can't put them in danger while rescuing them."
"So I asked, 'How do we raise $8,000, and how do I make it sustainable? How does it be something where I don't just give them $8,000 and leave it at that?' The answer was by mobilizing Friends to Mankind. Originally, it was going to be just me jumping, and I figured the highest jump in North America, which is oxygenated, is 18,000 feet. I figured I would get a dollar a foot if I threw myself out of a plane. I wasn't on Twitter and I hadn't activated my Facebook account in ages, but I just got on it, and started broadcasting our mission."
"Our first year, we doubled our goal, which was amazing. Last year was our second year, and we decided to go for $50,000 because that actually covers a year of rescues for Somaly Mam. And that's how it really "18 for 18" started. Now, I'm going to be, like, 18 for $150,000. We are trying to figure out a way to make it sustainable and then once we get it sponsored and once we get it fully rocking on it's own, then we will hand it over to the charity and say, 'This is yours now and you run it.' Then we find another charity that we work with and build an awareness campaign for them and hand it off to them. Eventually, we want to have this sustainable model, where we get different organizations ways to get funds that are reliable every year."