11 May, 2013
The gift of We Day
Posted by andrea tomkins in: Yaktivism
The other day someone mentioned that the Fishbowl was becoming a little too political. It’s not changing. I’m still writing and thinking about the same stuff – kids, recipes, activities around Ottawa, gadgets and gear for families – but all this stuff just happened at the same time: Bangladesh and Live Below and McDonald’s and I have to be true to myself and get it out there otherwise it eats me up. So please forgive me if you’re not finding the kind of content you usually find here at the Fishbowl. I hope you stick with me, because – as many of you know – the topic matter changes pretty frequently! Thank you as always for your continued support! xo
A couple weeks ago I was invited to attend something called We Day, an event organized by the folks behind Free the Children, a charity which was founded by Craig Kielburger.
Are you familiar with Craig Kielburger at all? If you know his story you already know that he is a wunderkind in the truest sense of the word. You can read more about him on Wikipedia but I will summarize by saying that he is essentially the poster boy for youth action.
I first read about Craig a few years ago in connection with his advocacy work for Free the Children, and then again awhile later.
I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this here, but I was interviewed for one of his books about how to use social media for activism.
The book is called Living Me to We: The Guide for Socially Conscious Canadians. I had actually forgotten all about it until the invitation to We Day showed in my inbox. So I did what anyone would do and went out and picked up a copy. It’s a great book, and I think the girls will get a lot of out it. And it’s pretty neat to be included in it.
Unfortunately they misspelled my last name. Ha ha! And I thought I was marrying into a name that was easy to spell. :)
We Day is a fascinating event. Intended for tween and teenage kids, it is the ultimate school assembly… but with music, celebrities and social activists, performances, and motivational speeches. It is all about youth empowerment, the power of one, and it invites young people to step up and take action on local and global issues. I recommend you watch this video if you’d like to get an idea about what it’s all about:
You can’t buy a ticket to We Day, it has to be earned. Each school group that attends had made a commitment to undertake one local and one global action throughout the year in order to help create positive change in the world. And We Day is a kind of thank you, one that helps keep those fires burning.
I took the girls out of school to attend We Day (they rode sidesaddle on my media pass) and I’m so glad we did.
There were a bunch of great speakers, but notable standouts for us included Craig Kielburger (he is so charming and well spoken), and I had a brief opportunity to speak with him. I asked him what parents can do to raise “activist” children. I am transcribing his answer here because I thought it might be of interest to you too:
“In our family my parents always read the newspaper flat out on the kitchen table – and we had those conversations. My mom would never walk past a homeless person without choosing to engage with them in some way whether it was a nod of the head or a hello or putting a few coins in… it starts with the parents. Studies overwhelmingly show that the greatest single indicator of whether a child will volunteer is whether their parents volunteer. And it’s not a push – not a dragging along – it’s just sharing what you do and that becomes part of the family norm.”
Words to think about, right? Charity has to live and breathe in the family. It all begins at home.
Spencer West talked about his climb up Mt. Kilimanjaro. You can read his inspiring story in this Q & A in the National Post. (There are some great photos too in that piece too.) You can also watch him in action right here:
Here is in the media room, answering questions:
His story will stay with us for a long time.
Molly Burke is a young woman who captivated and inspired the audience. She spoke out about bullying. Here’s her story on video (I can’t watch it without welling up):
There were so many other heartwarming moments that day, but one of the best ones for me occurred in the parking lot afterwards. I turned to one of my daughters and asked her what she thought of We Day. She sighed, and smiled, and with a twinkle in her eye she told me that it had changed her life.
It was lovely to have the opportunity to meet celebrities and enjoy box seats overlooking the event, but that was the best part of We Day for me.
I kind of knew this going in, but it turns out you cannot attend We Day and not be affected by it. And now I have something for you.
I was given a Blackberry Z10 by Telus, one of the event sponsors, with which to share our We Day experience. I’m going to shake things up and give it away to a special someone who’s made it to the end of this post. I won’t be promoting this post as I do my usual giveaways because I want this awesome device to go to a Fishie who’s REALLY reading. :)
The fine print, as per usual. Please read!
- This giveaway is for a white Blackberry Z10 that I was given by Telus for use before/during/after We Day. It is a sweet little thing that retails for $650. If we didn’t have iPhones we would keep it, but I don’t feel right keeping it or selling it.
- I want to give this to a Canadian who volunteers or has raised money for charity. In order for your entry to qualify, please use the comments below to tell me about your own volunteering experience OR how you have helped your child be an activist. If you win, consider this a thank you for helping make our world a better place. :)
- I will seal the package and stuff all the cords back in the box. I will cover shipping costs but that will be the end of my involvement. You’ll have to activate this yourself and take care of your own phone/data plan.
- This giveaway is void where prohibited by law.
- If you can’t post your comment here for whatever reason, you can email it to me for posting. Send it to andrea at quietfish dot com … however I cannot be responsible if your entry is misdirected or gets stuck in my Spam folder.
- Do you know someone who would appreciate the chance to win? I bet you do. Forward this info to them.
- I will choose the winner using Random.org at noon EST on Monday May 20, 2013.
Other deets in case you’re wondering (this is straight from my contact at Telus):
If the winner is already a TELUS customer, they just need to transfer their number over to the new device. This can be done online or over the phone with an agent. If the person wishes to unlock the phone, they can call us and we’ll do that.
Customers can unlock their TELUS mobile device for use with other mobile carriers. Device unlocking is the process of reversing the TELUS specific settings on your mobile device so that it can be used with a SIM card from other mobile carriers. TELUS will provide customers with the code to unlock your device in order to enhance your overall mobile experience while maintaining the standard manufacturer’s warranty on your device for a $35 fee.
That’s it! Over to you. Good luck!