We Day Toronto 2015.
20, 000 youth.
They answered the Call for Change. On October 1st, 2015 over 20, 000 youth gathered in Toronto’s core at the Air Canada Centre to be inspired. If you have never heard of We Day it is an event that is set to empower young people to change the world. To truly discover the power of “we” and how together, we can all make a change. All we have to do is find our spark!
Our morning started early, Gabby and I were invited on behalf of TELUS and we were super stoked to be able to take in the entire experience in Toronto. I know we were in store for a lot of inspiring stories, amazing entertainment and an incredible line-up of speakers.
Time to Capture It All.
The energy outside of the Air Canada Centre was almost palpable. You can feel the excitement and though it was a chilly morning and the air was crisp but, the temperature was rising. Gabby was enthralled with the crowd and being in the press area and fan zone made for a unique experience. In just moments, we would be able to see a lot of familiar faces and people who make changing the world a part of their everyday.
The Red Carpet.
One of the coolest experience was to be right in on the action before the day even started. The press area and the fan zone was a little taste of Hollywood. We were able to see the man of the hour, Craig Kielburger, Hedley, Kardinal Offishall, Nick Jonas, Carly Rae Jepsen and Francesco Yates. We could hear the screams of pure excitement trailing behind from Shawn Mendes, Hozier, Nina Dobrev and more. Check out the entire line-up, here.
What is We Day?
Since We Day is a one of a kind event and you can’t buy a ticket to We Day, every student in attendance had to earn their event tickets by taking one local and one global action through We Schools. It’s We Day’s yearlong educational program that engages and empowers young people to become compassionate leaders and active citizens. Spencer West was the host and the day was ready to kick off!
The audience roared when Hedley and Carly Rae Jepsen took the stage. I have to say, I am a huge fan of Hedley and their performance was electrifying. Hedley and their fans have been busy too, they raised enough funds ($12, 000 to be exact) for Free the Children. They’ve also laid brick in Kenya to open a new school and then returned to India to physically build a school. They sure found their spark.
Now, Magic Johnson. The man needs no introduction, he’s a living legend. To see him in the flesh is literally an item off my bucket list but, to see him inspiring so many kids–that just puts it over the top. He emphasized that with team work, you can change the world.
One of the many things that I love about We Day is the stories that the speakers have to share with the audience. They share their wisdom through the experiences they have been through and how they found their spark to make a difference in the world.
Demi Lovato shared her story and what made her want to get involved in something bigger than her. It is refreshing to see young pop stars use their clout and influence for good. Nick Jonas also lended his pipes and performed for the We Day audience. He put on a good show!
Share It With the World!
Nina Dobrev, star of The Vampire Diaries said that we have so much power. I’ll admit that I felt a little old when she said, “Our parents didn’t have the technology that we do now,” since, hey, it was just barely starting when I was young. But, she has a point. We have an incredible forum with our social presence to make a huge difference! We can spread the message of change and hope with millions!
Shawn Mendes brought down the house with his two hits and the crowd went wild. The screams were deafening. Gabby absolutely loves him and she enjoyed both of his performances. He performed with the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra.
I remember staying home sick from school and watching Happy Days on TV, I remember the Fonz fondly. One thing that I didn’t know was that he had a hard time at school. He said that one of the few things he was excelled at school was going home. School was hard for him and he just didn’t know why. It was until he discovered that he was dyslexic. He said, “You are not defined by your challenge, you are defined by your tenacity–your power!”
Call for Change.
Meeting Francesco Yates was truly a highlight thanks to TELUS. It is amazing to see such a young man calling out for change. He lent his song, “Call” to make a difference and in partnership with TELUS, they are raising funds for Free the Children. He debuted his remixed version and his new video that featured his fans singing or dancing to Call. Every video helped raised money.
Now, it’s your turn! Share this video online and for every time it is shared, TELUS gives $10 to Free the Children. Check it out, here.
Find Your Spark.
Mark and Craig Kielburger ended the day with a powerful pep talk that invited everyone to find their spark. No matter what it may be, we all have it in us to use it to light a fire and make a difference. One of the most impactful moment was when the We Day attendees were asked to raise their phones and shine their light if they have a spark and the whole stadium was lit up.
I am very grateful that I was able to share this special day with Gabby. I am proud to see that in the past few years she has dedicated time to helping others. Her involvement with a local charity makes me so happy and whenever she can help someone in need, she does. Finding her own power and her spark is due to being inspired in past We Day’s.
To find out how your child can be invited to We Day, check out the We Schools and see how you can be involved. It’s an experience that our youngest generations should partake.
Have you found your spark to make a difference?
Let me know, til then–cheers m’deres!
Nancy Polanco is a freelance journalist, lifestyle content creator, and editor of Whispered Inspirations. She is a proud Mom to Gabby and Michaela, and wife to Darasak. Having worked as part of a health care team for almost a decade, Nancy is happy to be back to her passion. She is a contributor to the Huffington Post, TODAY’s Parents, and an Oprah Magazine Brand Ambassador.