No matter how many times I go to the WeDay event, the message is always just as powerful as the first time. WeDay is an inspiring day that I was honored to take part in again in Waterloo; I was invited to the WeDay Waterloo event by Telus, one of the WeDay sponsors.
This event has so many inspiring speakers and performers for the day: from Martin Luther King the third, who spoke about being the best you can be no matter what you are doing, to celebrities performers like Nelly Furtado, who has partnered with WeDay – she is quite passionate about girl’s education and has gone to Kenya herself to help build a school that she matched funds to build. Craig and Marc Kielburger, the founders of MeToWe & Free the Children – are two incredibly passionate brothers who have built this organization to help children around the world. They want to help you find your spark and make a difference in this world – their message – you can make a difference, and that you can be the change that you want to see.
As part of the Telus team that day, we were able to see some of the behind the scenes happenings and meet some of the incredible speakers and performers. We were fortunate to meet Spencer West, who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with only the use of his hands as he has no legs…. he redefines what is possible. We were also able to meet the two Youth activists, Hannah Alper and Vishal Vijay and hear them share their passion before they went on stage to talk about the people that inspired them.
We also had the opportunity to attend a press conference with Craig Kielburger and Nelly Furtado to hear about some of the exciting things happening with MeToWe and Free the Children.
The We365 app
We learned about We365, a new app [available free as a mobile app or online (www.we365.com] that is an initiative of Free The Children and TELUS , it was launched October 18. We365 helps youth across the world track their volunteer hours and take challenges to help fundraise, but the other cool thing about this is that every download helps inoculate a Child – so a life is saved every time it is downloaded – go download now and save a life! Immunizations save 2-3 million lives every year. For every sign up on We365 from October 18, 2013 to April 2014, Free The Children will immunize a child in an Adopt a Village community. Immunizations are crucial to preventing illnesses and enabling youth to grow up, healthy and strong.
Craig Kielburger, co-founder of Free The Children said “Together with TELUS, we created a space for young people to inspire and be inspired by other like-minded young people, 365 days a year. With TELUS’ dedication towards helping us create a safe and positive online space, coupled with its innovative ideas and commitment to service, We365 is truly going to help revolutionize the way youth create positive change.”
Through We365, TELUS combines the power of technology with the popularity of social media, and will engage kids with online challenges throughout the year, inviting them to take action to better their communities, in the process, giving them a chance to win access to exclusive events, as well as scholarships and charity grants.
Users can create personal profiles, enabling them to find friends or other like-minded individuals to connect with. For instance, students can log-in between classes and take 30 seconds to see what activities friends are engaged in, or ‘like’ a new cause or upload a photo of a fellow student organizing a bake sale for charity. By the end of the year there will be ways to fundraise for 85000 Canadian Charities, so there will be ways to support the charities you care the most about. What’s more, users will have access to feature stories, videos and photographs that give life to the issues they care about most, seamlessly through the digital platform, courtesy of The Globe and Mail, We365’s official Media Content partner in Canada.
It is also Parent tested and Parent approved, and it has various safety mechanisms built in especially for kids under 13 and they will not be searchable by anyone. Parents can also get a weekly summary of what the child does within the app.
Thanks to Telus, anyone who downloads the app between now and Dec 31st will be entered into a contest to be able to give $10000 to the Charity of their choice – how awesome would that be to be able to do?
In addition to its sponsorship, TELUS launched a Phones for Good campaign on August 13, donating $25 from the sale of select TELUS BlackBerry 10 devices (BlackBerry Z10, Q10 and Q5) to Free The Children.
Telus has been a leader in many wonderful initiatives; along with the We365 app, they also have an initiative that they have launched to help control your digital footprint and keep your child’s online experience safe: TelusWise
TelusWise : Wise Internet and smartphone education a unique program available to Canadians for free offering seminars and online resources – it is an innovative educational program that will arm Canadians with the tools necessary to help keep the family safe from online criminal activity.
Parents and adults they will learn about the common pitfalls of cyberspace and how to better protect personal information from predators and malware.
The TelusWise footprint for children ages 8 to 18 offers a secure online portal with fun interactive challenges where children can learn how to stay safe online. School-age children can even earn money for their schools through the cyber bullying and digital citizenship programs by completing interactive challenges. TelusWise has also earned the PTPA winners seal of approval.
The Year of Education
This year will be the year of Education for Free the Children, where the focus will be to raise funds to build 200 schools around the world. So instead of collecting pennies, they have challenged everyone to collect coins to fill the cardboard houses they gave to all of us. Each box holds $20 worth of coins – the cost of one brick -> 500 bricks will build a school! Isn’t that incredible – we have the power to help build them!
During the Press conference, Nelly Furtado spoke about how her heart just ‘cracked’ open and how she was so inspired by the families she visited in Kenya. She was inspired by the teamwork within the communities and the young teenage girls who had so much ambition and drive – a drive she had never seen before. Nelly realized that education is not a given over there, the government only pays for education up until grade 8. The girls that get the opportunity to further their education are thrilled to be there, they are excited about learning, something we sometimes take for granted here.
It was an amazing day full of inspirational speakers and great performances, I am grateful to Telus for providing the opportunity to experience WeDay Waterloo and all the great behind the scenes moments that were very special to both my daughter and me. We will be filling up the cardboard schools we were given and adding a couple of bricks to a school somewhere in Kenya or India.
Do you want to earn your way to WeDay? Use Twitter or Instagram or go to Telus for WeDay and let Telus know exactly what you do to make a difference. Telus will select winners in each of the WeDay cities and the winners along with a friend will be able to attend and be part of the Telus crew. Check out the video below.
There will be Earn your way challenges throughout the year – you can enter through the We365 app. Making a difference does not have to be hard…all it takes is a small act to make a big impact.
Images and video courtesy of Telus.