As a teacher of Civics and law, I have had many opportunities to talk with students about volunteering for great causes. At one of the schools I used to work at, they had a Free the Children Club who continuously worked hard at raising money, and raising awareness. Although I was familiar with We Day and Me to We events, I have never had the opportunity to attend – until this week. I was invited through the Ottawa Mommy Club to attend We Day on behalf of Telus. It was a jam-packed, fun-filled day with important messages to all those in attendance (and watching on live stream!). You cannot buy a ticket to We Day, it must be earned through community service. Many of the schools had completed several hundreds (if not thousands) of hours towards their cause. National We Day was held on April 9th at the Canadian Tire Centre. The entire facility was jam-packed with students, teachers and other community members. I was surprised how many young people were up and dancing at 9am
The group I was with is a group of other Moms and their children (or other young people). I took my friend’s 13 year old daughter as my son is a bit too young, and a couple of other bloggers brought children that were not their own either. We were located in a suite that had an amazing view of the stage:
When we arrived we were given Rafiki bracelets, a swag bag filled with goodies and breakfast. The first event was a Telus Wise discussion on internet safety (which will be discussed in another post). Very informative and great to hear other parent’s views on smart phones/internet safety. After the Telus Wise session we were brought down to the press room for a press conference with Craig Kielburger, Hannah Alper and Spencer West. Craig Kielburger has an amazing amount of energy, Hannah, an eco-blogger, is probably the wisest, most amazing eleven year old I’ve ever met, and Spencer is just down-right inspiring. For those who do not know Spencer, his legs were amputated at the pelvis as a child and he recently walked with his hands up Mount Kilimanjaro.
Soon enough it was time for the show. The line up was quite extensive and featured many great groups and people like:
– Queen Noor of Jordan
– Martin Luther King the Third
– Governor General David Johnston
– Jason Spezza
– Craig and Marc Kielburger
– Simple Plan
– Kardinal Offishall
Craig and Marc Kielburger
Martin Luther King the Third
and more! It was a jam-packed agenda that did not stop for hours! Although the dancing and music was fun, there was more to the event. Many inspirational messages were given by the speakers. Everything from raising awareness that not every person is allowed an education on this planet, to making steps towards maintaining a more sustainable life, to not being afraid to start making changes now. You do not have to wait for someone to tell you ‘go’ or to give permissions, you can start at any moment. Craig Kielburger started Free the Children when he was only 12 years old.
In the late morning we were brought down to the Red Carpet photo room where we got to meet Simple Plan, JRDN, Kardinal Offishall and Neverest. The photo op part was really amusing. Basically the major TV and Newspaper media contacts were there, and a group of bloggers and their kids. We were allowed to take pictures and at first were observant of the imaginary line separating the musical guests and us. But as soon as Simple Plan arrived, they said we were too quiet and started conversing with everyone. Then the selfies started – let’s just say that there are lots of happy kids who now have selfies with some of their favorite Canadian musicians! At one point, Simple Plan asked us to take a picture of them with their phones and handed me an iPhone. All of the musicians were amazing with the kids and posed happily for pictures.
During We Day were also told about the new WE365 App. The program is a website and mobile app that helps young people build a better world, every day of the year – the first of its kind! An initiative of Free The Children and TELUS, We365 is a free mobile app and website that enables young people to track and verify their volunteer activities for school, as well as provide the tools needed to fundraise, take action, and amplify messages for thousands of different charities. Now children and teens have another way to help continue to raise money and awareness. Through initiatives such as their youth empowerment and educational event, We Day, Free TheChildren has built an online network of over 3.5 million world-changers ready to share stories, celebrate change and take action on the issues they care about. Free The Children has built WeDay into one of the largest charitable causes on Facebook with over 3.3 million likes. You could sense the energy of the arena with thousands of youth dancing and having a great time
National We Day was an exceptionally moving day. A big thank you to Telus, for not only providing us with a fun day, but for sponsoring the We Day Tour too! I am sure that I am not the only one who did not see We Day as a fun day off from work/school, but as a day to get pumped up to continue our endeavours, but to also celebrate how much everyone has already done. It was noted that a future Prime Minister could have been in attendance – I would agree with that and hope that not only do the young people at We Day continue their amazing work, but more join in!
Disclosure – Telus invited Ottawa Mommy Club to attend We Day as a VIP guest. I was provided with a package including a Samsung Galaxy S4 mini.