Changing the world, one kid at a time

by DaniGirl on April 23, 2013 · 1 comment

in Life in Ottawa, Life, the Universe and Everything

Have you heard of We Day? I’ve been hearing about it all year from the boys as they raised funds and awareness through various projects at school from penny drives to vows of silence. Founded by Free the Children, We Day is a series of events held across Canada to inspire youth to create change in their communities and around the world. If you don’t recognize the We Day title, your school-age kids probably do, and you’ll likely recognize the name of Free the Children founders Marc and Craig Kielburger. Since 1995, when he was a Grade 7 student in Thornhill, Craig has become a global social activist with the simple (!) goal of empowering youth to change the world.

I knew through my connections in school council that the school would be sending a contingent to the national We Day event being held here in Ottawa/Gatineau next week, but that tickets were very limited because they can’t be bought – they have to be earned through local or global acts of service. Neat, eh? More than 4,000 youth and educators from across Canada would be attending.

You can imagine my delight when I was approached by national We Day sponsor Telus to attend and cover the We Day event here on the blog – and invite one of my children along. I was doubly excited when they kindly agreed to allow me to bring TWO of the boys. The event is on Monday, and we’re beside ourselves with anticipation. The more I research this incredible movement, the more amazed I become. Look at this! Since the first We Day in 2007, youth involved in We Act have achieved remarkable, measureable social change results:

  • $20 million raised for more than 500 local and global causes
  • 5.1 million hours volunteered for local and global causes
  • 2.8 million lbs of food collected for local food banks
  • 6.3 million hours of silence logged by youth who stood up for children in developing communities silenced by poverty and exploitation

So here’s where I’d like your help. There’s a small but real chance I’ll get to meet Craig and Marc Keilburger, or one of the events inspirational speakers like Martin Sheen (President Bartlett!!), Chief Shawn Atleo, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, humanitarian and Second Cup founder Frank O’Dea, the cast of Degrassi, or one of the dozen or so other celebrity guests and inpirational speakers. I am mute with awe at the very idea of being able to speak with some of these people, and coming up with a set of meaningful and penetrating questions is, well, out of the question.

Help me, bloggy peeps, what would YOU ask in a situation like this? (Assuming, that is, I can get my mouth opened at all.) I’m so proud to be a part of this event but just a wee bit overwhelmed by it all. What exactly do you say to an activist who has inspired global change? What would you like to know from a pair of brothers who have between them the amazing goal of empowering youth to change the world?

Stand by, I hope to have our three-person coverage of the event up on the blog early next week! And if you’d like more information, you can connect with the We Day movement on Facebook or learn about how you can get involved at

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 smothermother April 23, 2013 at 8:01 am

A couple of my husband’s students that he helped create a Green Team at their school are going to the event. He is so excited for them and proud to have been able to help them with the initiative.

I would love to know how to get the younger kids excited about this sort of stuff. The jellybean is six tomorrow and while he is excellent at recycling and composting, i’ve tried to see what other activities he would like to become involved in and he just brushes me off and ignores me. :/

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