“What is WE Day?” you may ask. WE Day is a celebration of youth making a difference in their local and global communities. WE Schools is the program that brings awareness of issues in local and global communities, nurtures compassion in youth and gives them the tools to create social change. The goal: to empower young people to change the world.
It is important to note that one cannot buy a ticket to WE Day. The event is free to attend thanks to generous sponsors however youth must earn their way by participating in the WE Schools program and taking action on the issues that matter most to them.
One the common ways to “take action” is to raise money for a local or global cause. As Girl Guides of Canada members, we are not allowed to raise money for a third party cause so we took action in other ways. We made Remembrance Day cards for veterans and holiday cards for residents of a seniors’ residence, did a clothing drive for Syrian refugees, put on a holiday concert at a seniors’ residence, did one month of “Random Acts of Kindness” which the girls kept track of on a calendar, baked cookies for a seniors’ residence and more to come! Many of these service projects were suggested by the Guides.
Armed with our WE Day bracelets we gathered bright and early on February 22nd just outside the Theatre St-Denis. At our seats we found our WE Day gift bag which included items to help with future WE Day challenges.
One exceptional speaker/entertainer appeared after another, including some great local personalities, each with their own inspirational story. Some of the speakers/entertainers at the English WE Day were: Oscar winning (deaf) actress Marlee Matlin, Canadian hip hop star Kardinal Offishall, Lauren Rathmell and Mohamed Hage (co-founders of Lufa Farms in Montreal), Tristan Williams (a two-time cancer survivor by age of 21 and also diagnosed with MS), Dr. Stanley Vollant (first aboriginal surgeon in Quebec), novelist Joseph Boyden, photographer Mikaël Theimer, Canadian musicians Francesco Yates and Scott Helman, Spencer West (a WE Day regular), and founder Craig Kielburger. The diversity of speakers was incredible!
Overall we all left WE Day overwhelmingly inspired and wanted to do more things to change the world! Ultimately, participating in WE Day drove home some of the principles of Girl Guides, and really made the girls realize how important our service projects are and how much impact that we have.
Submitted by Patricia Tellis, Guider with the 82nd Montreal Guiding Unit.