The energy was electric. Thousands of young people filled Bob Guertin Arena today for Ottawa-Gatineau’s first We Day. What a crowd! Kids came from 130 different schools. They brought bags packed with food to support food banks, plus hearts packed with passion to make a difference in life.
That’s what We Day is all about. A galvanizing educational event and social movement, it unites youth to bring about local and global change. At “The Bob” a slew of renowned speakers and performers had the crowd on its feet, clapping, cheering, pumped and ready to do good.
Leading the way were famous activists Marc and Craig Kielburger. Co-founders of Free the Children, the international charity behind We Day and related initiatives, the Kielburgers generated loads of applause. So did Sydney Brouillard-Coyle, the 13-year-old who aspires to be prime minister and who spoke – in front of a packed arena – with the poise of someone who could become PM and more. The morning lineup also included Spencer West, an incredibly inspirational guy who lost his legs as a young child and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro less than a year ago by using his hands. “We can redefine what is possible,” he said.
And how about Second Cup founder Frank O’Dea? He traded a daily bottle of wine and a park bench for life – as a successful entrepreneur and global humanitarian. For him, the impetus for change was a dime. Somebody gave him ten cents when he was panhandling. He used the coin to make a phone call.
The kids loved headliner Shawn Desman and they were appreciative of speakers such as Jillian Vanstone, National Ballet dancer, and Sam Earle, Annie Clark and Jacob Neayem, cast members from TV show Degrassi. Annie talked about meeting kids who wished, more than anything, they had the opportunity to go to school.
The message was clear: don’t take it for granted. Education is an opportunity.
In fact, We Day offered some pretty compelling motivation for all ages.
Looking for some sweet inspiration with your oatmeal tomorrow morning?
“Children are not just the future. They are the present too.”
“We are the generation the world has been waiting for.”
“…don’t tell me you can’t change the world.”
“Your journey is changing the world. Thank you for your journey.”
“Be the change!”