What is We Day? For many students it is a day where there is alternative education, while the tickets are free, the cost to get there is not. Where fun and education go hand in hand. Where celebrities and 16,000 students gather to rally for a better world. This is the electrifying event of We Day in Winnipeg.
Today the world’s largest youth empowerment event of its kind, We Day, along with National Co-Title Sponsors RBC and TELUS bring together renowned speakers and chart-topping musical artists includingKweku Mandela, Hedley, Canadian astronaut Dr. Dave Williams, President Mary Robinson, Son Real, Kardinal Offishall, Severn Suzuki and Shawn Desman, amongst others with international activists and co-founders of We Day, Craig and Marc Kielburger, at We Day Manitoba engaging and inspiring 16,000 students from over 450 schools to take action on local and global causes that are important to them.
To start with you could tell there was excitement in the air when you first arrived. Volunteers were chanting and the students who earned their way to We Day were funnelling into the MTS Centre. The groups from various schools mostly in Manitoba traveled from many distances….some over 800 km’s away for this event. To hear the story of Craig and Marc Kielburger share about how the world needs our help. From locally to internationally we need to help everyone around us. We Day is meant to not only start kids, but motivate them to keep going. Students need to earn their way to We Day as there are no prices for tickets. Instead students need to show their desire to help. As a result of the work of the 16,000 students in the MTS Centre, there was logged over 6000000 hours of community service (yes that is 6 zero’s!).
And the efforts ranged from everything from helping local food banks, to helping build schools overseas. The day was spent listening to stories of lives being changed and lives that need to be changed.
We were exposed to various ways that we could help the world. We heard from Mary Robinson (Past president of Ireland and past UN commissioner for Human Rights and President of the Mary Robinson Foundation for Climate Change) speak about the injustices of the world and how we can help change global warming and how lives of the marginalized are being destroyed. We also heard success stories from students in Africa of how education can make a difference to children a world away from us.
We also heard of an easy way to help the world using technology that virtually all tweens and teens know about. The We365 app was created by TELUS and Free The Children. The app will help youth do even more to help their communities. Using the app, tweens and teens can rally friends around causes they support, share their accomplishments, and earn badges and points. Parents will also be happy to hear that the app tracks volunteer hours, which can be shared electronically and remove the need to keep track of all that pesky paperwork.
This year we attended We Day as a family. My little girls got to hear the stories first hand about changed in the world. There were several highlights for our girls. One was hearing and meeting Hannah Alper. An 11 year old blogger who is slowly changing the world. Our girls were in awe of meeting this celebrity who reminded them that she was just a girl like then and reminded them that anything is possible no matter who you are. The girls even got to watch Hedley perform “Anything” together.
Our family was invited to a Q and A with Craig Kielburger and Mary Robinson. This was an invite only with all media from Winnipeg and surrounding areas.
Everything from TV to radio to newspapers and our one daughter had the opportunity to ask the first question. She asked Craig “How did you get everyone to help with We Day?” He answered her very professionally and shared that it was all about the youth and he really appreciated her brave question in front of everyone. A truly stretching moment for our little girl.
We even had a chance to have a little interview after the press conference.
With huge hearts our girls left the MTS Centre feeling like they really could change the world. So, watch out Africa….you may be getting a couple of new schools soon if our girls get their say!
Thank-you Telus for making this day a reality for our family.