From Me to We
On a Thursday in mid-October, at the premature hour of five a.m., twenty-nine Brentwood students, accompanied by Mrs. Richardson and Mrs. Martin, groggily loaded themselves onto a yellow school bus bound for Vancouver. The destination? Me to We Day. A few weeks earlier, applications had been handed out and students had eagerly completed them in the hope of attending this inspirational event.
18,000 teenagers from all over British Columbia attended. From as far away as Prince George and Nelson, and as near as the Vancouver school district, we all came together to experience this day as one.
That was what We Day was all about: turning your view from ourselves to those around us, and those all over the world. Founded by the Free The Children organization, We Day inspires students all over Canada to make a positive impact on the situations of poverty and despair that the citizens of many developing nations currently find themselves in. We Day is a chance to bring about the necessary global changes. We Day is the youth movement of our time.
Canadian entertainers such as Classified, Down With Webster, and Hedley were all present to pump up the crowd. So was Shawn Desman, who taught the crowd of 18,000 the "We Day Dance", including moves such as the Fist Pump and the Swagger. But this gathering wasn't just for the musicians to sing; the performers were just the tip of the iceberg.
The purpose of the day was carried out by many speakers, including Mia Farrow, Shaquille O'Neal, Michel Chikwan (a former child soldier), Spencer West (who survived a disease which caused him to lose the lower half of his body), and the former President of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev. Perhaps the most exciting of these was Mr. Gorbachev, a man who brought peace and freedom to the people in his nation. This diplomatic figure exuded the wisdom that he has accumulated throughout the decades, and ignited a spark within many of us to help change the world. Mark and Craig Kielburger, the founders of Free The Children, also spoke of their difficulties in creating this organization, and the words that have encased them and their cause for so long: hopeless, impossible, never.
Yet the Kielburgers broke through these walls of words to create something beautiful - something worth fighting for. As Mia Farrow told us: "You guys are the architects of the new future. Do all the things you think you can't do", and she's right. The feeling of being alone and unable to make a change is unrealistic, because small changes add up to make a big difference. Every act of kindness, no matter how miniscule, is beneficial to our world.
The message that was passed on was that we too can break through these barriers, and we too can make good things happen. Not for ourselves, or just for our families, but for the human population, for the good of humankind. We can make a difference. We are the generation the world has been waiting for.