Youth-Led Social Change Event in Seattle with Microsoft, We Day, and Free The Children

I was invited to attend a media kick off event for the Youth Led Social Change Event. It took place in between Zoe’s Kindergarten bus time pick up and drop off but because it was so far south I wasn’t able to fit it into my schedule. I’m really excited that Microsoft is working to help empower our youth to take charge and make change. I wish I would have been able to attend the event so that I could give you a first hand account of how excited the youth were.

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If you’re interested in seeing what to expect check out the We Day Toronto video, which captures a great sneak peak of what’s to come at the first U.S. We Day in Seattle in March, including potential appearances by the Dalai Lama, Richard Branson, Justin Bieber, Jennifer Hudson, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Nelly Furtado and more. 

International charity and educational partner Free The Children is pleased to announce the first-ever U.S. We Day, featuring Former President of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev amongst many other notable speakers and performers. This youth-led empowerment event will take place in Seattle on Wednesday, March 27, 2013, at Key Arena, thanks in part to Co-Title Sponsor, Microsoft, and partnership with Seattle Seahawks, Head Coach Pete Carroll and A Better Seattle. After a six-year history of inspirational and impactful We Day events coupled with a year-long service program engaging hundreds of thousands of youth across Canada, Free The Children will make its U.S. debut to 15,000 students from schools across the Pacific Northwest at We Day Seattle in March with a planned expansion to key cities across the U.S. to follow.

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“Free The Children was founded by my classmates and me in 1995 when I was 12 years old,” said Craig Kielburger, co-founder of Free The Children.  “We’ve grown from a small group of passionate kids who launched fundraisers and petitions to promote child rights to an educational partner providing service learning and civic engagement opportunities to more than 3,500 schools and a network of almost two million young active global citizens. We are thrilled to bring our first U.S. We Day to the Seattle area, connecting students and teachers to world-renowned speakers and performers, such as past speakers Sir Richard Branson and Magic Johnson, and singers Nelly Furtado and Jennifer Hudson.”

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The official announcement was made this morning by Microsoft’s General Counsel and Executive Vice President Brad Smith at Federal Way High School, located south of Seattle, to a crowd of 2,000 area students, as well as education officials and community leaders.  He was joined on stage by Kielburger and Carroll who unveiled Gorbachev as the first speaker confirmed for We Day Seattle. Additional speakers and performers will be announced in the coming months. Other notable guests in attendance included U.S. Freestyle Skier Patrick Deneen, Seattle Seahawks’ cornerback Richard Sherman, and former child soldier Michel Chikwanine.  

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We Day is free for students and teachers to attend thanks in part to the generous lead support of Microsoft and other individuals and foundations.  In return, students must earn their way in through service by taking one local and one global action to better the world through a year-long program called We Act. This year-long service learning program offers Washington schools speaking tours, educational resources, domestic service campaigns, international volunteer opportunities and support to help youth and teachers take action on any issue or cause.

“As part of our recently announced Microsoft YouthSpark initiative, the We Day and We Act programs will be exciting opportunities to empower and inspire young people to work together for positive change,” said Brad Smith, General Counsel and Executive Vice President, Microsoft. “We’re pleased to help thousands of Puget Sound youth spark change, big and small, both here at home and beyond.”

“We are excited to partner with and help expand the work of Free The Children in order to educate and empower students and teachers throughout the State of Washington,” said Seahawks Head Coach Carroll, founder of A Better Seattle and known for his passion for helping young people.  “Making an impact doesn’t have to wait — they can make a huge difference right now and play a big part in building safe and healthy communities for years and generations to come.”

Students and teachers can learn more about We Day and We Act and how they can get involved by visiting www.weday.com/seattle. Washington schools have already started to make a difference. Shorewood High School in Shoreline, Wash., raised more than $10,000 in the past year to support Free The Children’s international development communities in Kenya, building a new school from the ground up.

 

I received photos and information being a Windows Champion and living locally here in Seattle.

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