We Day Vancouver Mainstage
|Location(s)||Canada, United States and U.K.|
|Organised by||Free the Children|
We Day is an annual "youth empowerment" event organized by Free the Children. The event started in Toronto in 2007 and is now held in cities across Canada, the United States, and the UK. We Day motivates youth to take action on local and global issues. We Day events feature speeches and performances by global leaders, social activists and public figures. The event is free of charge, but each student group that attends is asked to make a commitment of one local and one global action throughout the year to change the world for the better.
We Day has one of the largest nonprofit Facebook pages in the world, with over 3.5 million likes. The associated "1 like = 1 dollar" fundraising campaign, where the event's sponsors donated one dollar for each like on the We Day page, raised over $2 million for Free the Children.
Since 2007, We Day participants in Canada, the U.S. and UK have raised $45 million, which was given to more than 1,000 charities. Participants have also volunteered 14.6 million hours for local and global causes and collected 5.6 million pounds of food for local food banks. Independent research found that 98% of We Day participants believe they can make a difference, and 80% of We Act alumni report volunteering more than 150 hours each year. We Day's first U.S. broadcast on August 21, 2015 on ABC was hosted by Selena Gomez and had 2.1 million viewers.
Free the Children is a children’s charity founded in 1995 by child's rights advocate Craig Kielburger. An article in the Toronto Star newspaper quoting Free the Children indicates that We Day was created to "empower, educate, and above all, inspire". Since 2007, the annual event has featured a lineup of social activists, speakers and musical performances. It is the start of a year-long initiative encouraging students to participate in Free the Children's campaigns, or in any other local or global service action of their choice. We Day has been called a "cause agnostic platform."
We Day is a free event for all students because it has corporate sponsors. To earn entry, schools must pledge one local and one international difference-making effort to pursue over the school year. Free the Children provides a limited number of tickets to each school and lets the schools decide how to choose which students attend. As of 2014, We Days take place in 14 cities worldwide, with more than 200,000 students from 8,000 schools in attendance.
We Day is followed by a year-long service-learning program delivered by Free The Children, called "We Schools" (previously the We Act program). Schools that participate in We Day are asked to undertake one local and one global action for change during the course of the year. Attendance at the event is free of charge, and in return all schools are asked to follow through on their commitments to these actions.
Free The Children provides materials to accompany the program, including a weekly "Global Voices" curriculum based on the weekly newspaper column by We Day founders Marc and Craig Kielburger.
Associated campaigns cover a range of social issues, such as "We Scare Hunger", in which participants collect canned food items for their local food banks each Halloween, and "We Are Silent", a vow of silence in which participants stay silent for 24 hours in solidarity with children overseas whose rights are not upheld.
As of 2014, youth participants in We Day and We Act had raised $45 million for more than 1,000 local and overseas causes, and volunteered more than 14 million hours in their communities.
- Royal Bank of Canada
- Bell Media
- The Keg Steakhouse
We Day events
The first We Day took place on October 19, 2007 at Toronto's Ricoh Coliseum and involved more than 7,500 youth. The participants were students in grades 7 through 10 from more than 500 schools in the Greater Toronto Area. Speakers at the event included Justin Trudeau, Senator Romeo Dallaire, Irshad Manji, Jessi Cruikshank and Olympic swimmer Mark Tewksbury. Performers included Canadian Idol winner Brian Melo and Hanson. The event was broadcast across Canada via a live webcast produced by MTV.
Free the children second We Day took place on October 17 at Toronto's Ricoh Coliseum. It involved more than 8,000 students in grades 7 through 12 representing 600 schools and 40 school boards. The event was hosted by Ben Mulroney and Tanya Kim of eTalk. Speakers for the day included Craig Kielburger, Marc Kielburger, Mia Farrow, Justin Trudeau, celebrity designer Nate Berkus, Jessi Cruickshank, the cast of Degrassi: The Next Generation, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and former Prime Minister of Canada John Turner.
Performers included Sarah McLachlan, Crash Parallel, the Canadian Tenors and Canadian Idol winner Theo Thames. A live webcast of the event and a one-hour special was carried by CTV. Participants were asked to take part in the 100-School Challenge, a fundraising initiative that challenged students to raise enough funds to help Free the Children build 100 schools around the world.
For We Day 2009, Free the Children held two separate events. On September 29, 2009 16,000 students attended We Day in Vancouver to hear speakers including the Dalai Lama, Dr. Jane Goodall and Mia Farrow. Performers included K’naan, Sarah McLachlan and Jason Mraz. The Dalai Lama spoke to the crowd about making the 21st century peaceful. He shared the following with the crowd: "Peace does not mean no longer any problem, no longer conflict. Some form of differences, some form of conflict, (is) always there…Now peace means when there is possibility of conflict or violence, using our common sense and... compassion." On October 5, another 16,000 students attended We Day Toronto. Speakers included holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Mike "Pinball" Clemons, former Prime Minister Paul Martin and founder of Participant Media Jeff Skoll. Performers include Hedley.
The event also included a surprise performance by the Jonas Brothers. The brothers appeared on a taped message broadcast throughout the stadium before they stepped out on stage to perform a two-song set. Both events were carried by CTV on live webcast. The broadcaster also aired a two-hour highlight special on October 10, 2009. The 2009 Free the Children initiative introduced at We Day is called the 10 by 10 Challenge. The initiative aims to have student raise $10 and log 10 volunteer hours. This will help raise funds to fully develop 10 villages located in Africa, South America and Asia. The Kielburgers estimated that this program will impact 100,000 people.
We Day 2010 kicked off in the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on September 30. Among the speakers were Jacob Hoggard of Hedley and Alexandre Bilodeau. Performers included Down With Webster, Greyson Chance and K'naan. 18,000 students attended with their schools. This edition was highlighted by the introduced the We Day dance, a choreographed dance in which the entire audience participated multiple times over the course of the event.
On October 15, We Day returned to Vancouver. Over 18,000 students attended. Jesse Jackson, Martin Sheen, and Al Gore were among the speakers. Barenaked Ladies performed two songs including their new song "Four Seconds", and the hit "If I Had a Million Dollars". Stereos performed as well. The first bilingual We Day was held in Montreal on November 12 at Theatre St. Denis with an audience of 2,000 students. Performers include Simple Plan and Shawn Desman, and speakers such as astronaut Marc Garneau spoke to students.
We Day 2011 started in Kitchener, Ontario, on February 17 to an audience of 6,000 student leaders. Speakers included Craig and Marc Kielburger, with performances by such artists as the Barenaked Ladies. We Day Toronto took place at the Air Canada Centre on September 27 with 18,000 youth in attendance. Speakers included Danny Glover, Mary Robinson, Dr. Patch Adams and Waneek Horn-Miller. Performers included Kardinal, Classified and City and Colour.
We Day Vancouver was held on October 13 with 18,000 youth at the Rogers Arena. Speakers included Shaquille O’Neal, Mia Farrow and Mikhail Gorbachev, Former Soviet President and Nobel Peace Laureate. Performers included Hedley and Down with Webster. The second We Day event in the Waterloo Region happened on November 16 at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium with 6,000 students leaders. Speakers included Magic Johnson, Mia Farrow and Roméo A. Dallaire. Performers included The Midway State, Neverest and Shawn Desman. Winnipeg’s first We Day event took place on November 23 at the MTS Centre with 16,000 youth in the audience. Speakers included the Right Honourable Paul Martin, Former U.S. Vice President and Nobel Laureate, Al Gore, Hannah Taylor, Mia Farrow and Rick Hansen. Performers included Hedley, Down with Webster and Neverest.
We Day 2012 was the biggest to date with We Day Toronto, We Day Vancouver, We Day Alberta, We Day Manitoba, We Day Waterloo, We Day Montreal, We Day National & We Day Halifax. We Day Toronto took place at the Air Canada Centre on September 28, 2012. It was attended by 20,000 youth and educators. Speakers and performers included Jennifer Hudson, Nelly Furtado, Al Gore, Hedley, Justin Trudeau, Martin Sheen and Shawn Desman. We Day Vancouver took place in Rogers Arena, on October 18, 2012.
The first We Day in Alberta took place at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, on October 24, 2012. It was attended by 18,000 students and speakers included Liz Murray, Spencer West, Craig Kielburger, Marc Kielburger, Larry King and Martin Sheen. Performers included Hedley, Marianas Trench, Lights and Tim Hawkins.
- Main event
The biggest event, in Minneapolis, happened on October 8, 2013 and was televised. It was presented by American actresses and singers Bridgit Mendler and Debby Ryan and Canadian presenter Jesse Giddings. The event was supported by recording artists Demi Lovato, Jonas Brothers, Carly Rae Jepsen and the personalities Barbara Pierce Bush and Mark Dayton.
The first We Day Illinois took place on April 30 at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, with speakers Selena Gomez, Common, Dennis Haysbert, Magic Johnson, Marlee Matlin, Tyrese Gibson, Kweku Mandela, Martin Sheen and Jennifer Hudson.
We Day had its first U.S. broadcast on August 21, 2015 on ABC. Hosted by Selena Gomez, the broadcast also featured Jennifer Hudson, Common, The Band Perry and a video contribution from U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama. The event also featured Demi Lovato, Kid President, Magic Johnson, Nick Jonas, Josh Gad, Paul Rudd and Macklemore. The broadcast had 2.1 million viewers.
We Day Toronto kicked off the 2015/2016 We Day season and was broadcast by MTV on November 25, 2015. It took place on October 1 at the Air Canada Centre with Demi Lovato and Nina Dobrev hosting the event and included performances from Nick Jonas, Hozier and Shawn Mendes. The event also featured Kiesza, Carly Rae Jepsen and Tavi Gevinson as speakers.
- "Squamish represents at We Day 2014".
- We Day on Facebook
- Duffy, Andrew (April 1, 2015). "Jonathan Pitre inspires 16,000 at We Day Ottawa". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
- Irish, Paul. "Listen, learn and be inspired," Toronto Star, Oct. 18, 2007 http://www.thestar.com/Special/Article/267634
- Saunders, Hosea. ; http://abc7chicago.com/society/we-day-celebrates-volunteering-across-community-globe/662654/ "WE DAY CELEBRATES VOLUNTEERING ACROSS COMMUNITY, GLOBE" Check
value (help). ABC7 Chicago. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
- [is followed by a year-long service-learning program delivered by Free the Children, called "We Act". "We Day We Act Program"] Check
value (help). We Day. Free The Children. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
- "Sign Up for Global Voices - Educators Financial Group".
- "Another We Scare Hunger Campaign".
- "Free The Children We Are Silent Campaign".
- "We Day boasts out-of-this-world lineup". The Record. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
- Irish, Paul. "Rallying to spark change," Toronto Star. Oct. 16, 2008 http://www.thestar.com/SpecialSections/article/517384
- Paul Irish: Rallying to spark change. Toronto Star. October 16, 2008.
- “National Me to We Day.” CTV News. Oct. 16, 2008.
- Lori Culbert and Mary Frances Hill: "'Social change is possible' 16,000 learn at We Day," Vancouver Sun. September 30, 2009.
- Sunny Dhillon: "B.C. youth, Dalai Lama mark We Day,". Cnews. September 29, 2009.
- “Jonas Brothers give surprise performance at ‘We Day’ event,”. Celebrity Mania. Oct. 6, 2009.
- "Photos: Debby Ryan, Bridgit Mendler And More At "We Day" Minnesota". Disney 411. 12 July 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
- "Carly Rae Jepsen, Bridgit Mendler and Demi Lovato announced to join headliners the Jonas Brothers and Mia Farrow at We Day Minnesota" (PDF). We Day. 12 July 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
- "Selena Gomez to Host We Day Vancouver!". We Day. 12 July 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
- "Celebrites Support Youth At We Day Illinois".
- "Celebrities Help Young Volunteers Mark "We Day" In Illinois".
- "Selena Gomez Hosting "We Day" 2015".
- "We Day Toronto Line-up Announcement" (PDF). We Day. September 22, 2015. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
- "WE Day Toronto 2015: The Recap". We Day. October 1, 2015. Retrieved December 15, 2015.