On the 16th May, hundreds of thousands of young people and educators from around the world joined WE Day Connect, a free, interactive online celebration of social good hosted by WE. The 90-minute digital event engaged more than 18,000 classrooms across 49 countries in a service-learning webcast that explored some of today’s most pressing issues – from homelessness and climate change to access to clean water and cyberbullying – empowering students to collaborate on innovative ways to tackle them.
With support and technology from Microsoft, and additional support from The Allstate Foundation, WE Day Connect broadcasted live from five locations: Microsoft Studios in Redmond, Washington; Sacramento, California; St. Catharines, Ontario; Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago; and, Geneva, Switzerland. Featuring inspirational speakers, surprise guests and international activist and WE co-founder, Craig Kielburger, WE Day Connect transcended geographical barriers, delivering the power of WE Day, the world’s largest youth empowerment event of its kind held in over 19 stadiums across North America, the U.K. and the Caribbean, to more youth and educators than ever before. Since the inaugural WE Day Connect in Spring 2018, the online event has reached over 556,000 viewers globally.
“Through WE Day Connect we have used technology to expand our reach beyond the stadium, growing our global network and delivering free, service-learning tools to youth and educators around the world,” said Carrie Patterson, Chief Operations Director of WE Charity. “We are thrilled that WE Day Connect is part of our dynamic series of service-learning programs, joining AP with WE Service, professional learning opportunities, workshops on social entrepreneurship and many others. Thanks to support from our partners, we are able to not only deepen service-learning in the classroom through this interactive online event, but also bring WE Day to the world stage.”
Remarkable youth and educators at the five locations inspired global viewers by sharing how they are bringing service-learning to life every day. A few highlights from the event include:
Pine Grove Public School – St. Catharines, Ontario
- All-girl coding group, GEMS – Girls in Engineering, Math and Science – is collaborating on an app called ImagineThat, which promotes inclusion for individuals with disabilities. Through a series of student-made, informational videos, ImagineThat educates users about the different types of disabilities and how important language is to creating a safe, inclusive space for all. To expand the reach and accessibility of ImagineThat, the GEMS group applied for a grant through WE Are One, an action campaign co-created by Microsoft and WE that encourages youth to make the world more inclusive through technology. Unknown to the entire school, the GEMS group was surprised live during WE Day Connect with a $1,000 WE Are One grant.
Woodlake Elementary School – Sacramento, California
- Student members of Woodlake Elementary School’s philanthropy club, Tolerance Kids, dedicate time each day to giving back to their community. Through their participation in WE Volunteer Now, a campaign created by The Allstate Foundation and WE that enables schools and youth-serving organizations to plan and lead volunteer projects, the club regularly volunteers at a nearby youth shelter to help end local homelessness. In January, the Tolerance Kids received a $250 WE Volunteer Now grant, which helped them purchase and collect daily essentials – from toothpaste to socks – to build care packages for the youth shelter. The care packages were so well received by the shelter that the Tolerance Kids decided to complete 60 more live during WE Day Connect. Inspired by their continued contributions to the shelter, The Allstate Foundation decided to present them with a second WE Volunteer Now grant, this time for $2,500, to put towards their future volunteer actions.
Following WE Day Connect, students and educators can continue doing good through WE’s free, yearlong service-learning program, WE Schools. Providing schools and community groups with curriculum, educational resources and action campaigns, the program is designed to enhance a school’s existing social initiatives or spark new ones. As part of the program, educators and community leaders can access the free, interactive WE Schools Kit, which helps them collaborate with students as they create action plans throughout the year. Globally, more than 3.8 million students are part of the WE movement, taking part in service learning programs and campaigns.
WE is a family of organizations that makes doing good, doable. WE is made up of WE Charity, empowering domestic and international change; ME to WE, a social enterprise that creates socially conscious products and experiences to help support the charity; and WE Day, filling stadiums around the world with the greatest celebration of social good.
WE Charity was founded in 1995 by then 12-year-old Craig Kielburger with a mission to fight child labor. WE has since grown and evolved to address the root cause of child labor – extreme poverty. In the past 24 years, WE’s programs have empowered over 1 million people with clean water, built 1,500 schools and schoolrooms overseas, and empowered more than 200,000 children with access to education.
WE enables youth and families to better the world—supporting 7,200+ local and global causes by volunteering millions of hours of service, shopping daily with an impact, and raising millions of dollars that directly benefit their local communities and the world. Join the movement today at WE.org .