Last week, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend my second WeDay, this time in the amazing city of Montreal. Some might call this greedy but it was a special chance for me to see my friend, Hannah Alper, performing live on stage as WeDay’s newest speaker. Spoiler Alert: She totally crushed it!
The Montreal event was different from the Ottawa experience in that it only had about 2,000 students, which made for a very intimate setting. The crowd was still deafening at times, as they heard from amazing speakers like Martin Luther King III, Chris Tse & the Kielburger brothers, as well as performances by Luca “LazyLegz” Patuelli and Sam Roberts. As you would expect from an event like WeDay, the positive energy flowing around the room was very high and the emotions were even higher.
There were a number of highlights from my most recent WeDay experience and I’ve decided to lay them out in point form to the best of my ability.
1. Martin Luther King III
It’s not every day that you get to listen someone as powerful as Martin Luther King III live on stage and I am grateful for the opportunity. While his message was tailored to the children in attendance, I can assure you that it was certainly not lost on me when he urged them to find their calling in life. It’s something that I am still searching for but feel like I am getting closer every day.
2. Chris Tse
I’m not going to lie, going into this day, I had no idea who Chris Tse was. I was invited a couple days before the event and didn’t have a lot of time to read up on all the speakers. It turns out that it was probably a good thing because Chris blew me away with his wit and in the way that he poetically threw out his words as if he were writing a book right in front of us. In describing his upbringing, I loved when he talked about how his parents had set up “Math Mondays”, “World History Wednesdays”, and his least favourite, “Non-Fiction Fridays”. He was incredible and is someone I will be following from now on.
3. Spencer West
This says it all.
4. The Alper’s. All of them…
You know the saying, “It’s not WHAT you know, it’s WHO you know”? That seems infinitely appropriate here, because without Eric, Candace and Hannah Alper, I would not have been able to experience something as amazing as WeDay. From the initial invitation, to having the opportunity to sneak backstage to meet the likes of Marc & Craig Kielburger, Spencer West, Martin Luther King III and Sam Roberts, I am forever indebted to this family. Getting to see Hannah calmly speak in front of all of those kids, gives me further inspiration and nerves to pursue my goals of inspiring through public speaking. And, she was absolutely amazing as she shared Malala’s story, up on the stage. So, thank you Alper’s! You have inspired me in more ways than one and I plan on using that insporation for good.
5. Meeting Molly Burke!
This was the big highlight of the day for me. Thanks again to Candace Alper, I had the special opportunity to meet and hang out backstage with Molly Burke and her guide dog, Gypsy. I was first introduced to Molly and her story at WeDay in Ottawa earlier this year. Her story of bullying is one of the most powerful I have ever heard on the subject and I wanted to meet her so I could let her know that her message reaches more than just the children she speaks to. As expected, she was very cool to hang out with and admitted that she is very superstitious, just as I am. Her new presentation was just as powerful as the one from Ottawa and the world is definitely a better place for having her in it.
If you have school aged children, I highly encourage you to start by showing them the videos on the Free The Children website and encouraging them to get involved in their school or community. The long term effects of this action will benefit their future multiple times over.
We 365 App
Free The Children also unveiled the very cool, We 365 phone app, which is going to revolutionize the way we give back. It’s an app that tracks all the good you do and awards points for each task you complete and hour your volunteer. It has challenges, allows you to create groups and even has prizes. This video explains it better than I can, and for every sign up on We365, Free The Children will immunize a child overseas.