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National We Day - Children Helping Children

 

In 1995, a 12-year-old Canadian read about the death of his peer in Pakistan, killed for speaking out against child labor.  Shocked by the story, he started a movement to mobilize the youth in Canada to help children in the developing world.  It worked.  By 2010, Free the Children had built 650 schools in eight countries through their Adopt a Village program, educating 55,000 children a day.  It has grown into a large international development nonprofit, helping thousands of children around the world every day. 

 

Free the Children aims at empowering young people in both the developed and the developing world.  In Canada, it has organized a series of events, called We Day, in recognition of young Canadians’ commitment to volunteer and social work.  Every year, We Day hosts world-renown speakers such as Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Al Gore, or Mikhail Gorbachev, and invites top-notch performers to entertain the young people gathered in celebration of their year-long voluntary work.  There are no tickets to We Day.  In fact, the only way to get in is to become active through a series of social programs available at participating schools.

 

Since We Day started, young people have contributed over 5 million volunteer hours and raised $26 million for many different charities and causes.  Over the last several months, We Day hosted events in 7 Canadian cities and in Seattle, WA (March 27), making it the first ever We Day in the United States.  The National We Day is coming up on April 29 in Ottawa/Gatineau, Canada, with about 4,000 young people expected to attend. 

 

The work of We Day and Free the Children is an important sign that the youngest generation, often perceived as conformist and socially insensitive, can in fact be successfully mobilized for meaningful causes.  We Day offers the youngest Canadians an opportunity to become part of a greater common cause, which beyond any doubt constitutes an important part of middle- and high-school education.

 

Check out the video below to learn more about We Day.  For more detailed information the National We Day as well as to get teacher, student, or community resources to get involved with the movement, visit their website.