Life changing events that honored the achievements of young people making a difference and helped inspire a generation of youth to become more globally aware and civically engaged.
WE Day events began in 2007 as a way to highlight the achievements of young people making a difference, and to help inspire a generation of youth to become more globally aware and civically engaged.
“We started the events because we noticed that kids tend to get recognition for standing out in sports or academics, but there was nothing to reward or inspire all the young people who are working so hard to make the world a better place. In just over a decade, the events led to students preforming over 40 million volunteer hours to causes they cared about.” Craig says.
Featuring high-energy, motivational performances and speeches from major celebrities (e.g. Prince Harry, Jennifer Aniston, Will Ferrell, Magic Johnson, Selena Gomez) the annual events highlighted students’ community/global service achievements through the year, and helped to inspire the thousands of audience members to keep working on the social cause of their own choosing.
Beyond the entertainment stars of the day, the events also featured powerful voices, from youth activists like Malala Yousafzai, to inspirational leaders like His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Mikhail Gorbachev, Elie Wiesel and Dr. Jane Goodall.
Tickets to the events could not be purchased, instead, they had to be earned. Students secured their seats by taking one local action (e.g. collecting food for homeless shelters) and one global action (e.g. doing a fundraiser to support educational programs in the developing world) through the school year.
The events were designed to be “cause inclusive”, meaning educators and students could work to identify the social cause that resonated most with them and work to make an impact on that specific issue.
In 2015, ABC began airing the events across North America in prime time, attracting millions of viewers on TV and online. Since the first event in Toronto in 2007, there were over 130 youth empowerment events in the United States, Canada, the UK, hosting and honoring approximately 1.5 million young people.