I could feel the amazing energy the minute I stepped into the Air Canada Centre on September 20th for WeDay , it was incredibly moving; it was the start of a day full of inspiration.
What is We Day?
We Day is an educational event and the movement of our time; it is an initiative by Free the Children, an educational and Charity partner that has been engaged with youth for over 18 years and it is a movement of young people leading local and global change. We Day is also tied to the yearlong We Act program; which provides the practical tools to turn inspiration into action. – See more at: http://www.weday.com/what-is-we-day/#sthash.sj6gpWjl.dpuf
It is a day of connecting with inspiring leaders that make a difference, empowering young people to find their spark, make a difference and be the Generation to Change the World.
Weday will be travelling across to the country to engage youth. You can’t buy a ticket to the event; it is free to attend, but you have to earn your way through various acts of service. It is a celebration of these acts of service which helped out over 1000 charities this year.
We heard from Martin Luther King III who told Marc and Craig Kielberger, that if his parents were alive today, they would be right in the middle of this movement. He reiterated that we should be the best at what we do, and that it only takes a few good men to make a difference. We need to be that difference.
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf told us how important it is to believe in yourself, and always be the one who inspires change in others.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynn reminded us to be kind and reach out to others; they will notice and remember.
It gave me chills to see the Canadian flag ‘surfing’ the crowd as Astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield was introduced. He spoke about his dream of becoming an astronaut and impressed upon us that the “sky is not the limit” and we should follow our dreams; then he sang with the Barenaked Ladies!
Hearing Spencer West talk about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and how he redefines what is possible was very powerful and moving [he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro without the use of his legs].
It was so inspiring to listen to Molly Burke share the story of how she fought back against bullying and found her voice through Participating in Me to We camps, trips and now by being a We Day speaker. She believes we need to stand up for what we believe in and make the world a better place. So on April 19th, she will be silent – to stand up for everyone who is being bullied, exploited or denied their rights. Although her voice and many others will be silent, they will be loud on all the social media platforms that day, taking action and being the change.
There were so many inspiring speakers, interspersed by music from an incredible collection of performers such as the Barenaked Ladies, the Jonas Brothers, Serena Ryder, Austin Mahone, Imagine Dragons and headliner Demi Lovato ; all helped amp up the energy that was in abundance that day.
The #WE365 app was also introduced, it is a social networking platform that will be launched Oct 18th, and will help kids track their fundraising hours online. Every app download will receive special funding from the partners to immunize a child overseas -> one download=one life saved.
Last year, the WeDay goal was to collect pennies to provide access to clean water for many areas around the world; they were able to provide 100,000 people access to clean water for their entire life!
This year will be the year of Education, 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!
I left full of emotion and inspiration; wanting to do more to help change the world.
So take part, take action and be the change.
*Credit – All photos and video courtesy of WeDay.