WE Day and its dynamic, yearlong educational program, WE Schools, work together to empower youth to be drivers of social change.
At the heart of WE Day and WE Schools is the belief that when we act together, we can transform the world.
Sometimes, people don’t act because they’re unaware of the issues and don’t feel connected to the lives affected. Other times, people don’t act because they feel overwhelmed – they wonder how they could possibly make a meaningful difference.
Our model of youth empowerment challenges young people to act with intention, and lead with compassion and the conviction that together we can transform lives locally and globally.
We help young people understand the issues and how they can help, provide them with the tools to take action, and connect them to like-minded change-makers, creating a global community where together WE change the world.
Our program has a holistic and demonstrable lasting impact, increasing students’ engagement in their school and community over the short term, and building the knowledge, self-confidence and compassion that motivates young leaders throughout their lives. WE Day and WE Schools aim to cultivate a new generation with the vision and commitment to tackle local and global issues, from bullying and homelessness to poverty and the environment.
Our studies show that whether students are fundraising to build a clean water system in a developing community, launching a creek clean up in their neighborhood, or organizing a bullying prevention campaign in their school, they not only discover their power to make difference, but also develop the commitment to volunteer, vote and give—for years to come.
After experiencing the energy of WE Day, educators and students at Cameron Elementary School in Burnaby, British Columbia knew they had to help change the world. Turning their inspiration into action, the school participated in both the We Are Silent and Haiti: La Solidarite campaigns to support those in need. Cameron Elementary invited another school to join their Five Days for Freedom Freedom Fest, a celebration featuring their own WE Day dance and a special video showcasing their amazing year of changing the world.
When teacher Thomas Akers’ service group at Cambridge Junior/Senior High School decided to volunteer serving food to the homeless, they had trouble finding a night when everyone could all get together. Their solution? Volunteer on New Year’s Eve. The first trip to the community meal site in Rock Island was eye-opening for the students from small-town Cambridge., Illinois. They weren’t just serving food to clients, they were also sitting down to share a meal and a meaningful conversation. As students began volunteering on a monthly basis, they stayed connected with clients as they applied for jobs, took care of their families and worked to overcome barriers in their lives.
In 2013, a Free The Children speaker and facilitator visited The Regis School in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, to inspire students to “Be The Change”. Students decided to take action in their local community around the issue of food poverty. They supported the We Scare Hunger campaign by leading a successful food collection and broke the record for Free The Children in the UK by collecting 800 kg of food for the Bognor Regis food bank.
In November 2014, students celebrated the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child (UNCRC). The entire school got together with a local primary school to hold another successful food collection in support of We Scare Hunger. This time they collected 2,423 kg of food, which amounts to 5,768 meals for the Bognor Regis food bank.
*Based on independent third-party research by U.S.-based social impact consulting firm Mission Measurement.