My parenting motto is simple. I try my best to communicate with my children and raise them to have respect for themselves and others; to be kind, empathetic and compassionate people.
Time and time again I hear “what’s wrong with kids these days,” and I get it…I really do. We hear horrible stories in the news, every single day, about youth who don’t seem to care. Except yesterday…I witnessed a change.
Eight thousand children arrived at the Halifax Metro Centre with their various clubs and organizations. They listened and clapped, danced and cheered…they celebrated their achievements and were inspired to do more.
WeDay is driven by children.
On Tuesday, I spent a bit of time “backstage” as they set up for Wednesday’s WeDay Atlantic. I had the opportunity to meet with the founder, Craig Kielburger, and asked him about their “brand.” I’d been invited by Telus to attend the event and did a little research before jumping in with my “OMG I’d love to…it sounds Fantastic!” As an adult, I had never heard of the program…yet, when I asked my three children…they all knew what it was.
Craig explained that with WeDay, 7 in 10 people under the age of 25 know what it is…but over the age of 25, it’s more like 1 in 10. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing!
So many folks out there say that “this generation” can make a change and guess what…I think they are! Kids are driving this AMAZING change and for us adults, we need to be aware of what Craig and his organization are doing…just so we can encourage our children to get involved.
Here’s what I can tell you. At 12, living in Ontario, Craig read a story in the paper that changed his life. A young boy, living in South Asia, was sold into slavery at the age of 4 and spent 6 years chained to a carpet-weaving loom. On escaping, he began speaking out on children’s rights, capturing the attention of media…and at 12 years of age, he was assassinated for defending the rights of children.
Craig realized that his voice, could make a difference.
He researched, travelled, began raising money and awareness…and he hasn’t stopped. Craig began “Free the Children” and has been creating a movement ever since. Like me, you may actually know who Craig is. I recall, in 1999, seeing the 16-year-old boy on the Oprah show as he told of his desire to build schools and the look on his face when Oprah gave him more money than he could have hoped for.
Since then…Craig, his brother Marc, and their organization, have been changing the world…one child at a time!
Honestly, I can go on and on, but I ask that you, as parents, grandparents and educators…take a bit of time to read up on this organization and everything it has to offer…everything they’ve already done.
Yesterday, I attended WeDay. A day, where an entire years’ worth of “actions” were celebrated. For Atlantic Canada, WeDay made its debut, however, it’s been going on across Canada since 2007…and this year, it even went to the UK! The concept is simple…”by awakening the spirit of volunteerism in young people, anything is possible—injustices can be stopped, our local and global communities can be transformed for the better, and hope for the future can be sustained.”
WeDay is not about pushing a particular cause or organization…it’s about empowering children to “find their spark”…find what it is they’re passionate about whether it’s the environment, bullying, child labour, clean water…something, anything that moves them to want to make a difference and then DO IT! Make the difference.
To support and encourage them, We365 is the brand new app developed by Telus and Free the children. It challenges our youth to complete certain “actions” on both a local and global level…volunteer, speak out for an injustice, do an act of kindness.
Yesterday’s WeDay event at the Metro Centre celebrated the efforts of our children who have been “making a difference” for their various causes over the last year. You can’t purchase a ticket to WeDay but you EARN your spot…by “doing.” By making the world a better place.
As parents, we need to support their efforts. Yesterday, I watched 8,000 children raise the roof as they listened to inspiring speakers in between being entertained by fantastic performers who shared their talents and entertained the audience to thank them for all of their efforts.
WeDay celebrates our children’s passions and inspires them to do more.
I encourage you to check out the websites for Free the Children, Me to We and WeDay as well as the various programs they provide. Check out the We365 app…encourage your children to look into the various volunteer trips that will open their eyes to a bigger world…do something small, do something big…make their passions come to life!
We’re raising “believers.”
And they truly are, changing the world.
Thank you Telus for inviting me to share in this truly wonderful event. I look forward to WeDay returning in 2014…and encourage all of our youth to get involved.