I’m going to do my best to accurately recap the events that were National We Day in Ottawa. Considering the magnitude of the event and effect it had on every single person there, I hope I can do it justice. We Day, for those of you who are not familiar, is an event from Free The Children founders Marc and Craig Kielburger, that inspires our youth to be the leaders in creating local and global change.
I spent the day, along with 5000 young adults who all EARNED their tickets to the event with community service, listening to incredible speakers like Martin Sheen, Spencer West & Rob Stewart, as they told their inspirational stories and encouraged the children to get out there and make a difference in the world, one small act at a time.
There were so many highlights from this event that it is impossible to list them all, so I’ll give you a few of my favourites. For me, it started in the backstage media room, where two very young activists anxiously awaited Free the Children founder, Craig Kielburger’s arrival, so that they could ask their questions and press him for knowledge about how they could make a difference. I hadn’t been there 5 minutes and I was already beaming with inspiration at how devoted they were to changing the world.
Next up was Ottawa native and double lung transplant survivor, Helene Campbell, who strode across the stage and spoke as if she had been doing it her whole life. If ever there was someone to channel when you feel like giving up, she absolutely fits the bill. My favourite part is when she challenged the now famous, YOLO slang, by offering up a much more suitable and inspiring term in Carpe Diem. It wasn’t the first time I teared up at the event and it wouldn’t be the last.
My most vulnerable moment came when young Molly Burke took to the stage. I thought I had done my homework on the speakers but somehow I had missed Molly’s bio and videos. Even typing this, I am welling up at how powerful her story of blindness and bullying was. Of everything I saw at We Day, Molly’s story affected me the most. Please take a second to watch a clip of her incredible story and share it with the children in your life.
While We Day is an event that was developed to inspire our youth to take action in creating change for our world, I can tell you first hand that the children are not the only ones affected. I spent a good portion of my day dancing, and wiping away emotional tears from not only the stories of the speakers, but also from watching how inspired all of the children in that building were. It wasn’t just those kids who experienced a change today, I felt it too. I am absolutely confident that my children are going to be raised as better human beings because I attended this event, and I will be forever grateful for that.
I’ll leave you with one of my favourite messages of the day, from Marc & Craig Kielburger. It’s not enough to wait for the change or follow the change, you have to go out there and Be The Change! That’s a message I will be passing on to my little ones as they grow into young adults themselves. The event was amazing, I met some really awesome people and leave you with a small sampling of the pictures I was able to snag. I highly recommend attending a We Day if your child ever gets the opportunity and please read up on all the inspiring things that Free The Children are doing to help out both locally and globally.