We Day Waterloo.
It was beyond amazing.
I was invited to be part of the TELUS crew on November 20th and to take in the whole We Day experience in Waterloo. It was a day full of inspiration and fulfilling stories of tribulation and then triumph. I had the opportunity to bring my eldest daughter, Gabby, along with me and she was super excited to attend.
What is We Day?
We Day and We Act
Locally active, globally aware.
We Day is the movement of our time, empowering a generation of young global citizens through an inspirational event and a year-long educational initiative called We Act, which offers curricular resources, campaigns and materials to help turn the day’s inspiration into sustained activation.
We Act is the blueprint for young people to take action as agents of social change.
Because we believe that we are the first generation that can truly end the worst forms of poverty, embrace we thinking and we acting and remove the barriers to youth being agents of social change. And there’s no time to waste: every single day we have the opportunity to make this world a better place. And everyone has a role to play.
When I began blogging, it began as an insatiable desire to inspire people. Be it by a personal experience or simply by a recipe. It began as a medium and vessel to deliver a message to a large amount of people all at one time. It has since transformed into a vehicle to convey many different topics in my life.
One thing that I have not shared here is my insatiable desire to be the change I want to see in the world. My incredible defiance against injustice and my empathy for the less fortunate. While writing about my favorite products, amazing and blessed adventures of travel or the latest result of a concoction in my kitchen–I want to use this site for good.
Many of you know that I always try to buy local, I look for fair trade and organic and I try to support local businesses as much as I can. I try to help and give where and when I can too. I am very impassioned about the injustices that so many people have to endure on a daily basis all around the world and even in our backyard.
I do not claim to be perfect. In fact, like many of you, I’ve made choices I regret and have said things I shouldn’t have.
But, I try–each and every day to be a better person. I also teach my girls these values and to always have an open heart. My mother taught me to give wholeheartedly and without expecting anything in return. I try to teach this to my girls so that they learn to be selfless beings that care for others.
I was blown away with all of the young people that filled the stadium, over 6,000 kids who were ready to make a change. The energy was palpable and the applause was almost deafening when Martin Luther King III took the stage.
Martin Luther King III opened up the event and he really moved me with this quote, “If it falls to your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music … Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”
Be the Change.
You may all notice that I am huge supporter of TELUS, not only because of their superb customer service and network but, because they are supporting and encouraging so many people. Especially our youth and anyone willing to listen to make a change in the world. For the second year, TELUS is partnering with Free The Children as National Co-Title sponsor of We Day to inspire youth to create change in their communities and around the world.
There is hope.
Craig and Marc Kielberger took the stage and amped up the crowd, we were seated in the TELUS booth. It was exciting and Gabby was attentive and eyes glued to the stage. She was blown away by how many kids were there. She was also very perceptive to their speeches.
We sat right next to a group of young ladies who earned their way to We Day and were able to be part of the TELUS Team for the day, with all the perks involved. From August 19 to September 9, TELUS asked kids to share their small acts of good for a chance to Earn Their Way to We Day in their community.
Using Twitter, Instagram and our website www.telus.com/weday, youth told TELUS what little thing they do to make a difference and TELUS selected three lucky winners in each We Day city and a friend to We Day in serious VIP style, as part of the TELUS Crew.
TELUS will engage with kids via Earn Your Way challenges throughout the year, giving kids a chance to win exclusive opportunities like a hike with Spencer West or a day trip with Craig Kielburger.
Challenges could include sharing a photo of one small act of change through the We365 platform. These actions will also be amplified through other social media platforms as We365 activity can also be shared through Facebook and Twitter.
It Was On!
Shawn Desman took the stage and the crowd went wild. Marc and Craig Kielberger introduced this wordpress developer, an innovative website and mobile application creator – the first of its kind, anywhere – which helps young people build a better world, every day of the year.
An initiative of Free The Children and TELUS, We365 is a free mobile app and website that enables young people to track and verify their volunteer activities for school, as well as provide the tools needed to fundraise, take action, and amplify messages for thousands of different charities.
Basically, We 365 is a social platform to find and share inspiring content with like-minded users and friends, all while supporting causes most important to the individual. We365 is all about connecting youth for social good, and this connection is being facilitated with the very technology that TELUS provides including hosting and storage solutions.
To make sure kids are engaging in online activities safely check out my post about TELUS WISE, here.
Excitement and VIP Treatment!
Nelly Furtado took the stage with the Kenyan Choir Boys and she was amazing. We also had a chance to meet Nelly and then during the press conference, she shared her experiences and answered questions.
Gabby was super excited to have met her and Nelly asked her how her day was going and if this was first We Day. She was super nice and Gabby told her she was so happy to meet her and that she was so pretty. We kept running into each other and she always talked to Gabs. We also got to meet Spencer West, Down with Spencer, Hannah Alper, Vishal Vijay, Chris Tse and Craig Kielberger.
It was a day full of hope, inspiration and a call to action. Gabby was mostly taken aback by Molly Burke and her moving story about her experience with bullying and the speeches of Hannah and Vishal about kids who stood up against all odds. Bullying is something that I fear, especially having two girls–I worry. I’ve always told Gabby to stand even if she stands alone and to encourage others to not hurt each other with words or actions.
We were especially moved with the fact that some girls fight to have an education, to enjoy the things we take for granted like our educations and a chance to be something more. That they had to fight and endure and even though sometimes they do not succeed, they succeeded in lighting the fire to make a change.
Pictured above, you can see Gabby listening attentively to Hannah and Vishal onstage. I was very happy to see her so into it and throughout the day, seeing her do the We Day dance. Not to mention, seeing her walking around backstage wide-eyed when she saw the Green Room and more places backstage!
Gabby and I left We Day so full of ideas, full of hope and with our fire lit. Gabby took both of our “little school houses” from our swag bags so that she can help collect coins to help build schools for Free the Children. Every $20 gets a brick towards a school house and to help kids get the education they deserve.
- In addition to its sponsorship, TELUS launched a Phones for Good campaign on August 13, donating $25 from the sale of select TELUS BlackBerry 10 devices (BlackBerry Z10, Q10 and Q5) to Free The Children.
- Campaigns like this support both TELUS’ philosophy to give where we live and our focus on helping youth. Not only does TELUS’ Phones for Good campaign satisfy their customers’ thirst for the latest technology, but it also enables them to join with TELUS in supporting a great organization like Free The Children.
Get Out There and Make Moves!
We are excited to continue to do more to help our brothers and sisters around the world. Not to mention, we want to help right within our own community and backyard.
Have you ever been to We Day and what inspires you to help those who need it?
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.