September 28th was We Day, Free the Children’s annual youth empowerment event, where 20,000 students and educators gathered at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto to be inspired to initiate local and global change.
You can’t purchase tickets to We Day, you have to be invited. Free the Children invites schools that demonstrate strong leadership in the community. Recognized as a leadership school for its strong community involvement and volunteerism, STM was given the wonderful opportunity to take 33 students, along with teachers Mrs. Gambioli and Mr. Morelli, to We Day. It was a memorable and inspiring day for all who attended.
Numerous speakers - Craig and Marc Kielburger, Romeo Dallaire, Spencer West, Molly Burke, Al Gore, and Justin Trudeau, just to name a few - addressed the crowd at We Day and helped to make it a great experience. Craig and Marc Kielburger are the creators of Free the Children. Through their philosophy of service to others, humanitarianism, and their focus on the rights of children, the Kielburgers have changed the lives of many young people throughout the world. As an elementary school student, Craig was inspired by a newspaper article about a young Pakistani boy who was forced into child labour in a carpet factory. Craig asked to speak to his class about the matter and when he did, 11 classmates wanted to help him with his project. Free the Children was born.
Motivational speaker Spencer West is also a truly amazing person. He lost his legs at a young age but he hasn't let that stop him. In June of this year, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's tallest mountain, on his hands. Without legs to support himself, Spencer had to rely on his hands and arms, his mental fortitude, and the assistance ond support of friends to accomplish his goal. His motto is: “No can’t, no won’t, only how!” The message for us is: when faced with an obstacle, don’t give up; think of how you can solve it.
Al Gore gave a phenomenal speech on the effects of climate change. He talked in detail about how the warming of the earth affects the water cycle. As oceans become warmer, more water evaporates. As more water evaporates, more precipitation occurs. This has a serious impact on countries and geographical areas that are unable to deal with this increased precipitation. Mr. Gore stressed the importance of being eco-conscious and the need for responsible decision-making in matters related to the environment.
WE Day also featured such top-rate performers as Jennifer Hudson, Hedley, Shawn Desman, The Tenors, Nelly Furtado and K’naan.
To ensure that change occurs, we must change things together instead of alone. The impact we can have on the global community is greater when we act as a group. Free the Children started with 12 members and look how far it has come. Anything is possible... you can be the change if you choose to be.