On Friday, November 28, 2014, over 450 Strait Regional School Board Grades 6 to 12 students, staff and chaperones will join thousands of others at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax for an exciting, International and educational event, We Day Atlantic. For anyone at home interested in watching the excitement, the event will be live via webcast from the We Day website at weday.com.
Founded by brothers Marc and Craig Kielburger, We Day is an initiative of Free the Children. It is a movement which empowers young global citizens through the We Day event, and promotes youth to take action right here at home in order to create positive change in the world. The initiative enables schools to implement programs that empower youth to make the world a better place locally and globally, and inspires them to take part in socially conscious acts that foster positive change. You cannot purchase a ticket to We Day, students earn it through service. As such, each of our schools has committed to We Act, a year-long educational initiative during which students are undertaking at least one local and one international goal that helps to promote positive change.
At We Day Atlantic Canada, students will hear stories, and see performances from:
- Mia Farrow– Award winning actress and activist
- Dr. Dave Williams– Canadian astronaut, speaker, and doctor
- Amanda Lindhout– Canadian author, humanitarian, speaker and activist
- Kweku Mandela – Social advocate, filmmaker, and grandson of President Nelson Mandela
-Kardinal Offishall– Award-winning rap artist, music producer and Free The Children ambassador
- Ricardo Hoyos and Munro Chambers – Cast members from the Emmy-nominated TV series Degrassi
- Shawn Desman– Platinum-selling and Juno Award-winning recording artist
- JRDN– Juno Award-winning artist and Free the Children ambassador
- Karl Wolf– International recording artist, MTV Europe Music Award winner and Free The Children ambassador
- Neverest– Chart-topping, MMVA-nominated Canadian pop-rock band
- Mustafa the Poet– 18-year-old poet, writer, actor and emcee
- Craig and Marc Kielburger– International activists and co-founders of We Day
- Ashley Rose Murphy– Motivational youth speaker
- Robin Wiszowaty– Me to We motivational speaker, author and Free The Children Program Director in Ghana and Kenya
- Travis Price – Co-founder of Pink Shirt Anti-Bullying Day
- Hannah Alper – 11-year-old Me to We inspirational speaker, Free The Children ambassador, blogger and youth activist
Already, We Day has engaged millions of young people all around the world who have made an impact on the lives of many people. You can learn more about We Day at www.weday.com.
As the We Day website states We Day is part of a family of organizations, including Free The Children and Me to We, that has a shared goal: to empower a generation to shift the world from ‘me’ to ‘we’—through how we act, how we give, the choices we make on what to buy and what to wear, the media we consume and the experiences with which we choose to engage.
Some of the ways students in the Strait Region are making a meaningful difference in their home communities and around the world are outlined below. (Note: This list will be added to as more information is received.)
Chedabucto Education Centre/Guysborough Academy has organized a number of activities that are creating positive change, with others underway and planned for later this school year:
Stand Up Against Bullying Day, September 11, 2014
All activities were supported by the school’s Youth Health Centre, the African Canadian Heritage and Friendship Centre, SchoolsPlus, the Students Against Destructive Decisions(SADD) members, the Students’ Council and many student volunteers.
Grades Primary to 2 students took part in making a banner entitled "Step Up to Stop Bullying."
Grades 3 to 5 students created postcards with messages for the Grades 11 and 12 students with the theme of respect and to build on how elementary students view senior high students as role models. When you do or say this……. It makes me feel….Then, the Grades 11 and 12 students created a voucher that commits them to a random act of kindness for a student in Grade 3, 4 or 5.
Grades 6 to 8 students created chalk graffiti at designated locations with the theme of peace for Grade 6, diversity for Grade 7 and respect for Grade 8.
Grade 9 students created a quilt with the theme of peace. Squares were pre-stamped with a peace sign and students used fabric paint and supplies to decorate and sign their square.
Grade 10 students created a poster message to be displayed with the student body picture.
The school hosted its 5thAnnual Harvest Meal on Wednesday, October 2, 2014, for the entire student body. The school garden project has been a sustainable project for five (5) seasons and is made possible with the support of many partners including the school’s Green Team, the Youth Health Centre, the Guysborough County Community Health Board, SchoolsPlus, The Rare Bird Pub with Chef Greg Lankin, Days Gone By Bakery, the Afrikan Canadian Heritage and Friendship Centre and many more volunteers.
We Scare Hunger Campaign
During the week leading up to Hallowe’en, the Green Team Souper Heroes collected non-perishable food items for the Guysborough and Area Food Bank.
GASHA Youth Health Forum
On October 22, 2014, fifteen (15) students participated in a youth health and leadership forum, entitled Youth Engagement. The goal of the event was to provide youth with an opportunity to share ideas, successes and projects from their respective school’s Youth Health Centre Committees which promote various aspects of healthy living, increase awareness of Youth Health Centre activities and build relationships and leadership capacity among our youth.
Waste Reduction Week
Under the leadership of the school’s Green Team, Waste Reduction Week, October 17 to 23, 2014, activities included a litter-less lunch challenge, a recycling audit with the goal to improve recycling efforts and the promotion of a paper reduction challenge, Do NOT PHOTOCOPY if possible, and a lights out challenge (including half lighting or using natural light) in classrooms. On November 10, 2014, all students and staff helped with the cleaning of a 5 km section of highway on Route 16 through Guysborough town. The school’s Green Team has adopted this section of highway through the Adopt-A-Highway Program with the Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. The younger students assisted with cleaning the school grounds and sports fields.
Roots of Empathy Program
Grade 5 students have been participating in the Roots of Empathy Program. This program teaches students about their own feelings and the feelings of others. Once every three weeks for 9 sessions, a baby and his/her parents visit the classroom. Students watch the baby grow and meet milestones. For more than ten years across Canada and internationally, thousands of children are learning respect and care for one another with the lessons started through their Roots of Empathy baby. More information may be accessed at www.rootsofempathy.org.
Dalbrae Academy’s Students Helping Our World (SHOW) Committee is working on several initiatives this year in conjunction with their We Day efforts including:
- They have teamed up, once again, with the Inverness County Cares organization and are planning their 3rd Annual "Songs for Lwanga" concert to raise funds for the St. Charles Lwanga School in Nairobi, Kenya. Their goal is to surpass last year's amount of $1,500.
-They are working with the Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital’s Cancer Treatment/Chemotherapy section to raise funds to purchase gas cards, wigs and an iPad for cancer patients. There are two tea and bake sales planned for early December.
- They are hoping to work with Doctors Without Borders to donate a student's artificial limbs to needy children in developing nations.
In addition, six SHOW Committee students took part in a virtual, online discussion during the "Green Across the Pacific" Conference held in Vermont. Students are beginning to network with other students from around the world. In particular, students have made a valuable connection with Br. Kennedy Oronjo from the St Charles Lwanga School in which they see the fruits of their labor and experience a first-hand connection with the school and students they continue to support. Green Across the Pacific (http://gatp.org) is an organization dedicated to the 21st Century teaching and learning that engages students from various cultures. The organization’s objective is to bring students together both virtually and face-to-face with a focus on solving real world environmental and futuristic problems. Green Across the Pacific’s vision is to develop an international network of middle and high schools dedicated to virtual Youth Cultural, Environmental Leadership and Academic Exchange.
A member of the Dalbrae Academy SHOW Committee can be seen on the screen taking part virtually during the Green Across the Pacific Conference.
Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School
During the 2013-2014 school year, Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School’s Free the Children Committee had its most successful year to date. With the Committee almost doubling in size, the group was able to raise over 6,000 pounds of food for their local food bank by organizing two food bank drives, the We Scare Hunger 2013 campaign and the school's annual Christmas drive. Students also showed love for their school by putting their own spin on the We Are Love campaign. On the International Day of Kindness, the group posted over 1,000 sticky notes with positive messages on them on lockers, doors, and staircases. By spreading positivity, the students were able to raise awareness about the importance and impact of having a positive environment inside and outside the classroom. The Committee participated in We Are Silent by 'wearing their hearts on their sleeves.' They organized a day-long social justice awareness day, with over 150 students wearing hearts pinned to their shirts with the cause they are most passionate about written on them. The campaign was a huge success and is planned to occur again this year. They also supported and participated in the school's Gay Straight Alliance Vow of Silence to support LGBTQ+ students and staff. This year, the Committee is home to over 100 students with new ideas, initiatives and excitement for the 2014-2015 year. In the photo below, the students participated again in We Scare Hunger campaign collecting 2,100 pounds of food for their local food bank. They are currently in the process of organizing the Christmas food bank drive and a bake sale to support the new Free the Children bake sale initiative.
East Richmond Education Centre has sponsored a child from Bolivia. In addition, they are participating in the We Scare Hunger campaign to collect non-perishable food items for the Weekend Backpack Program in collaboration with the Food for Children Society.
EREC President Jaidon Seymour and Vice Presidents Naudia Medeiros and Jillian Fougere display the many items collected during the We Scare Hunger campaign.
H.M. MacDonald Elementary School
Students at H.M. MacDonald Elementary School have been working very hard to support a number of We Day initiatives. Through fundraising events such as hat days, 50/50, bake sales and teacher casual days, to name a few, $500.00 has been donated to the IWK. Students also held a We Scare Hunger food drive and donated all of the items collected to the local Antigonish Food Bank.
On a global scale, students have considered the issue of child labour. Students participating in the We Day Atlantic event created a keynote presentation on child labour following their reading of a book on the topic. They then shared the presentation with their peers to further discuss and raise awareness on this important subject.
H.M. MacDonald students personally delivered the items to the local Food Bank.
Inverness Education Centre/Academy
At the local community level, Inverness Education Centre/Academy students are organizing fundraisers to support the school’s Breakfast Program. They will also be visiting with residents of the local Senior's Home (The Inverary Manor) throughout the year to help them with preparing their Christmas cards and enjoying time playing Bingo, cards and reading books together.
At the global level, they are raising money for Kiva Loans. Kiva loans are small loans made through the internet to an entrepreneur across the globe. These small loans enable people in other countries to fulfill their dreams of creating a successful job and making a living. At the moment, Inverness Education Centre/Academy has approximately 30 Kiva Loans in use and their plan for this year is to raise money to offer more loans to those in need. As the loans are paid back, they are able to use the money to provide loans to more people.
During the past eight (8) years, SAERS’s Operation Share and Care has raised $84,409 to provide Christmas for families in need in the local area as well as providing winter outerwear for SAERC students. Each class is given the responsibility to raise funds for the project. This is truly a school-wide initiative with significant support provided by local businesses and community members. Let’s help them reach their goal of $100,000 this year!
St. Andrews Consolidated School students organized a We Scare Hunger campaign where they collected an impressive 980 pounds of food for the local food bank. Plans are also underway to work with the Wishing Wells Society of St. Andrews. Wishing Wells Society is a registered Canadian charity with a local board of directors based in St. Andrews, Antigonish County. Founded in 2000, the society is dedicated to building wells and irrigation ponds in small, rural villages. The projects began in India and have since spread to help communities in Haiti and Africa. The wells provide clean drinking water, which makes for better health for the people. The irrigation ponds enable the growing of crops, which relieves extreme poverty found in these regions. Local people from St. Andrews and surrounding area have helped improve the lives of these people.
In the Spring of 2015, the school will organize a We Are Silent event. As the We Day website points out, “take a vow to be silent. On April 16, 2015, go silent for 24 hours and stand up for those whose voices are not heard—the children around the world who are denied their human rights or those here at home who are bullied.”
St. Andrews Consolidated School students proudly display a We Scared Hunger sign with their Food Bank donation.
Tamarac Education Centre’s We Day Committee has established the following goals:
Global: "The Year of Empowerment":
The Committee, made up of 18 students, has decided to raise funds to purchase goats in order to empower families through Free the Children, and to supplement their income. The funds will be raised through a Christmas Craft Fair to be held on December 4, 2014, at the school. Funds will be raised through table rentals, ticket sales and the sale of Rafiki Bracelets, made by Mamas in Kenya. In addition, a Quarter Challenge fundraiser is planned for 2015.
Local: "Support for our Community":
The Committee has taken part in the We Scare Hunger campaign in partnership with Canso Ford and Free the Children to collect non-perishable food items to be donated to the Port Hawkesbury Food Bank. The Committee also plans to raise funds to purchase a wheelchair for the Strait Richmond Hospital Foundation.