We Day’s Impact
We’ve seen the inspiration in the eyes of young people at each We Day. We witness that inspiration turn into action in the ensuing year with We Act, the year-long educational initiative connected to We Day. And now the wider impact of We Day is being not only felt but measured.
We Day Impacts: At a Glance
|278,000||youth attending events in cities across North America and in the UK.||1,000,000s||watching via webcast.|
|5,700,000||watching special primetime broadcasts.||3,300,000||Facebook fans.|
|$37,000,000||fundraised for 1000 causes.||9,600,000||hours volunteered for local and global causes.|
|7,000||schools have participated.|
In 2011, Mission Measurement conducted a survey of Free The Children alumni to assess the lasting impact of Free The Children’s domestic programming. The survey found:
|73%||of respondents agree or strongly agree that their involvement with Free The Children resulted in increased community engagement.||83%||have made a financial charitable donation in the last year.|
|80%||of alumni volunteered in the last year and did so for more than 150 hours over the course of the year on average.||79%||of voting age alumni report having voted in the most recent national election, double the rate of their peers.|
We Day is an investment. The immediate impact is the millions of dollars raised for local and international charities, and the millions of hours volunteered. As Mission Measurement’s study of alumni shows above, the long-term impact is that young people are more likely to volunteer, vote and give—for years to come.
Case Study: Waterloo Region
The results of our independent We Day and We Act surveys show that participants are becoming better students, more engaged citizens and confident leaders among their peers. Our surveys report highlights from the impact of We Day and the results from the school year. As a case study, the Kitchener-Waterloo Region Impact Assessment Report highlights the impact upon students, teachers and even school culture following participation in the event and year-long program.
To assess We Day’s impact, Mission Measurement, conducted surveys of both teachers and students. The surveys were launched 10 days after the first-ever We Day in the Waterloo Region, allowing recipients the time to reflect on their experience while still being proximate enough to capture fresh reactions. The following are some report highlights:
|85%||of students reported having gained knowledge about a social justice issue.||81%||of students left We Day feeling passionate about a social justice issue, up from 53% before We Day.|
|61%||of students left We Day believing they could be a leader of social change, up from 27% before We Day.||34%||of students, prior to We Day, identified with the statement 'I can only make a very small difference…' After We Day, just three percent of students felt this way.|
*From the 2010/2011 We Day Mission Measurement report.
This shift in empowerment, from 66 percent of students feeling empowered to “make a meaningful difference” or “be a leader of social” before We Day to 97 percent afterwards, is a strong signal for the future success in creating systemic change. But perhaps most encouraging is that the percent of students who felt that they could be a leader of social change more than doubled from 27 to 61 percent.
This feeling of empowerment can be seen in how broadly the students shared their experience after leaving We Day:
|93%||reported having talked to their family about the issues discussed at We Day.||95%||reported having talked to their peers about their We Day experience.|
|96%||reported an intent to lead or play an active role in a social justice initiative at their school.|
*From the 2010/2011 We Day Mission Measurement report.
As a result of We Act, teachers noticed a change with respect to school culture and their own experience teaching:
|86%||agreed that they developed relationships with students with whom I would not have otherwise.||80%||agreed that they had a renewed sense of purpose as an educator.|
|90%||agreed that they were better equipped to teach my students about social justice issues.'||84%||agreed that there is a greater atmosphere of caring and compassion in the school.|
*From the 2011/20112 school year Mission Measurement report.
White Oaks Secondary School Students Come Together to Support Education in Kenya
Students at White Oaks Secondary School in the Halton District School Board have joined the We Day movement to change the world. Over the past school year, students took action in support of education projects in Kenya and fundraised over $12,000 through an Art Auction and Pasta Dinner and other creative actions. Educator Patty Toohy says the impact of these actions on the students and school has been outstanding. “I really believe we have received much more from it than we have given. We continue to explore new ways to help out both locally and globally and we are in the midst of initiating a new campaign to get all Halton schools involved.”
London School Raises Awareness about Aboriginal Culture, Traditions and History
Harnessing the power of education, students at John Paul II Catholic Secondary School in London took action to raise awareness about Aboriginal education. As part of a two week initiative, John Paul II was host to many activities and events aimed at exploring Aboriginal cultures, traditions and history. Students organized workshops featuring representatives from Aboriginal organizations who spoke to Aboriginal justice and education challenges. By bringing awareness about Aboriginal education into their school, students at John Paul II helped their classmates forge a deeper understanding about the issues facing Aboriginal peoples in Canada.
We Can Takes a Bite out of Local Hunger
We Can, a group of home-schooled elementary students in Edmonton took action to end local hunger by participating in Free The Children’s We Scare Hunger campaign. After connecting with local newspapers and blanketing their neighbourhood with flyers to spread the word, We Can headed out on Halloween night to collect non-perishable food items instead of candy. At the end of the night, when all of the cans were counted the girls had collected 638 non-perishable food items for the food bank. Thanks to We Can’s incredible leadership and teamwork, they have made a real difference in their community.
Students in Vancouver Stand up for Children’s Rights
After learning about children’s rights and the challenges of speaking up when faced by poverty, students at Pierre Elliot Trudeau Elementary School in Vancouver participated in Free The Children’s We are Silent campaign. Students in Grades 4 to 7 stayed silent for two hours and wore masks to show their solidarity for children around the world who cannot speak up for their rights.
Burnaby Students Celebrate Changing the World
After experiencing the energy of We Day in 2010, educators and students at Cameron Elementary School in Burnaby, British Columbia knew they had to do something to 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. After raising awareness and funds, the school hosted an event to celebrate their hard work and positive impact. Cameron Elementary invited another school to join their Five Days for Freedom Freedom Fest, a celebration which featured their own We Day dance, various entertainers and included a special video showcasing an amazing year of changing the world. After months of taking action, this event was a perfect way to celebrate all of the amazing work students at Cameron Elementary did to make the world a better place.
“We Day motivated me. I want my whole school to understand that we can change the world and raise awareness in our school. I want to get more kids involved.”
- Jack MacKenzie, Hillcrest Middle School
“I am glad that I made a difference in someone else’s life because that’s all that really matters!”
- Carly Mayer, West Vancouver, BC
“I loved helping children around the world who can’t have what I have! I will never forget this experience and I will do it next year too.”
- Elizabeth, Brampton, Ontario