On October 22nd, I had the absolute privilege of attending We Day Vancouver, at Rogers Arena, among 20,000 students and educators from more than 700 schools. We Day is a movement of young people who are leading local and global change, and it is considered one of the greatest movements of our time. We Day is a global platform for social change, where youth learn about pressing social issues, become inspired to become leaders and take action on the causes that are important to them. We Day also inspires youth to become global citizens. But, here’s the catch; you can’t buy a ticket to We Day! Students have to earn their way by taking on one local and one global action, through the year- long We act program. This program provides educational resources and campaigns to help youth turn this education into action. Best of all, We Day brings together world-renowned speakers and performers, international activists, and We day Co- founders and brothers, Craig and Marc Kielburger, to inspire the crowd with their experiences, motivational speeches and energize the crowd with amazing performances.
Orlando Bloom, shared his story of hardships he has faced in his life and when asked his first question, “What does it take to change the world?” His response, “It takes you”
While Orlando was on stage, (in the worlds coolest classroom), giving the youth a motivational speech, I took out my phone, opened up my note pad and wrote down his words,
“I realized I was always racing through my life. We have to make good use of the time we have, we have to seize the day! We have the opportunity to make a difference. Look beyond yourself, it’s the key to a happy life.”
Look beyond yourself!
This is the exact reason these youth were sitting in the worlds coolest classroom! They are choosing to use their lives to be the change.
After the press conference, we settled into our suite sponsored by Telus. I sat at the edge of the balcony and listened to the roaring buzz of the excited crowd. Seriously, the excitement had me shaking, and I felt so grateful for the opportunity to be there.
The crowd went wild when Selena Gomez, came out as their teacher for the day. What youth wouldn’t be engaged, with Selena Gomez as your teacher?? The theme for the day, “Empowerment”
At the end of the day, during Selena’s motivational speech she said to the crowd, with so much heart,
“I know what its like to be judged and put down. I know what its like to have other people form opinions of you , without even knowing you, trying to dim your light. I know what you guys go through, because I go through it everyday. But I don’t let it get to me. I want to say you are not defined by an instagram photo, by a like, by a comment, that does not define you. I want you to know that the trick is to focus on the love, and what I want you guys to do, every rude comment, or person that tries to hurt you, through the internet, or in person, I want you to forgive them , just forgive them. Because they don’t even know. They have no idea. There is so much love in this world, and in this stadium, don’t limit yourself because of what others expect. We all deserve more than we think and in the end, nobody remembers those haters, the comments, there just background noise. When its over, nothing defines you, but what you leave behind and who you touch along the way. If you take one thing from today, let it be this, believe in yourself, because I believe in you and you guys need to believe in each other. Just do you, be true to yourself, have confidence in yourself and everything will be fine.”
WOW! What an important message. Kudos, to Selena for her truthful, heartfelt, speech.
The other inspirational speakers, activists and performers of the day included,
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – Grammy Award-winning hip hop artists
Shawn Mendes – Canadian singer-songwriter
Debby Ryan – Musician and actress
Donnie Yen – Martial arts movie icon, actor, director, producer and Free The Children ambassador
Marianas Trench – Juno Award-winning pop-rock band
Kardinal Offishall – Award-winning rap artist, music producer and Free The Children ambassador
Victoria Duffield – Platinum-selling singer, dancer and actor
Cast members from the Emmy-nominated TV series DEGRASSI
Shawn Desman –Platinum-selling and Juno-Award winning recording artist
JRDN – Juno Award-winning artist and Free The Children ambassador
Karl Wolf – International recording artist, MTV Europe Music Award winner and Free The Children ambassador
Neverest –Chart-topping, MMVA-nominated Canadian pop-rock band
Silken Laumann – Olympian, inspirational speaker, author and child advocate
Kay – Singer, songwriter and rapper
Craig and Marc Kielburger – International activists and co-founders of We Day
Spencer West – Me to We motivational speaker, Free The Children ambassador and author
Mustafa the Poet– 18-year-old poet, writer, actor and emcee
Hannah Alper – 11-year-old Me to We inspirational speaker, Free The Children ambassador, blogger and youth activist
Ashley Rose Murphy–Motivational youth speaker
Robin Wiszowaty – Me to We motivational speaker, author and Free The Children Program Director in Ghana and Kenya
To top off the day, special guest and surprise appearance from Jennifer Lopez!!!
Although I didn’t get the opportunity to interview any of the performers, I did however get the opportunity to interview two youth that are making a difference at their schools and within their communities. I really wanted to take the time to interview them, because at the end of the day, the event is about them, and the contributions that they are making. I interviewed Robin, age 17 and Emily, age 14.
Because the theme of the day was empowerment I asked robin (17) , what empowerment means to her.
“Empowerment is giving people the education to powerfully care about what matters to them.”
Then I asked Emily (14) , how she empowers her peers. Her response,
“I empower my peers on a daily basis, by helping them with solutions to problems. Everyone can make a difference, no matter what their situation is. It just has to start with education, and awareness.”
I left We Day with immense feelings of hopefulness, gratitude and inspiration. We are creating a kinder , social and global aware, generation. Thank you We day and We act, and sponsors Telus and RBC, for helping build the next generation of global citizens.
And don’t forget to download We365!
We365 is a community of dreamers, believers, and doers who want to make the world more awesome. Who says you need to be older to make a difference? For every download, TELUS will give $5 in support of We Day and educational programs!
We365 enables youth to choose the causes that rock their world & explore ways to support them.
Seriously, wish we had this tracker when we were in school! Download yours today!