May droplets of sunshine mix with dappled shadows of autumn leaves to blanket the path you walk today.
At twelve years old, my daughter attended a Leadership Conference in Toronto, Canada. She stayed a week with hundreds of children as young as nine and as old as twenty from around the world. Each walked away in the firm belief that, no matter their age, no matter their resources, no matter their personal gifts, they could make change happen. She became friends with the two young men leading the Free the Children movement, Craig and Marc Kielburger, and began a journey that would shape her into the heroic and change making young woman she is today.
Craig Kielburger , an 11 year old suburban Canadian teen, ran across an article in the morning paper about a child, also 11, murdered for speaking up against child slavery. Craig, alarmed that slavery still existed, moved by the stories of the other boy’s life and death, gathered a group of friends and started Free the Children. At 12, Craig traveled seven weeks in South Asia. He went with 25-year-old Alum Raman, his friend and guide. He took a camcorder and made a record of all their experiences to bring back to North America to show other children. The award winning documentary and book (Free the Children: A Young Man Fights Against Child Labor and Proves that Children Can Change the World) based on that journey continue to inspire millions of kids around the world.
Craig is now 27 years old. Free the Children is the world’s largest network of youth helping youth through education, with more than one million youth involved in innovative education and development programs in 45 countries. One of the many shoots that have grown from Free the Children is “We Day.” Ten of thousands of kids journey hundreds of miles to attend the We Day celebrations across Canada. They come with teachers or parents in tow, fill a stadium and listen to phenomenal key note speakers (Al Gore, Mikhail Gorbachev, the Dalai Lama., Degrassi, Justin Bieber, Elie Weisel, and this year Danny Glover, Mary Robinson, Nina Dobrev, and Joe Jonas (of the Jonas Brothers). The participants also share their own stories of global change. Students unable to get seats in the stadium enjoy a simulcast in their school gym and spend the day immersed in activities designed to build a better world. Even the Cavanaugh house celebrates We Day, letting the simulcast play in the background and we focus our energy on setting lofty goals and the hard work needed to reach them. The metowe.com website posts various keynotes for you to watch afterschool if your schedule permits.
Today’s hero: Craig Kielburger. Consider ordering his latest book, Me to We: Finding Meaning in a Material World as a stocking stuffer for your child’s holiday celebrations.
This week’s question: Does the power you need to make change in the world come from inside you or from outside you?
This week’s free resource: http://www.weday.com/event
When: September 27
Where: watch live
Who: 18,000 youth, educators and friends
Why: To inspire and celebrate the youth movement for global change
Join the movement: ‘Like’ We Day on Facebook. 1 like = $1. www.facebook.com/weday
And while you are on Facebook – Like Grow a Generation!