No matter how you spin it: youth are our future, and with the world they are growing up in it can be scary to think about where we are headed. However, after experiencing WE Day Atlantic recently I’m confident WE are in good hands.
It’s really and truly amazing what these kids have accomplished so far in their short lives (I mean what am I doing with my life?? lol), and not only that a lot of them did so while overcoming some MAJOR obstacles. It’s so easy to make excuses, and to say you can’t, but in all actuality these kids are proving you probably can. When I tell you the WE day got me in the feels, it full blown knock me on my butt got me in the feels. I was almost in tears about 2 minutes in. I was a wreck, and should have worn water proof mascara (let this be a lesson to you blog reader lol).
Being around such positive energy and hope was really powerful, and it’s something that I’ll never forget.
You likely already know my background is in education. I worked in Daycare all through my first degree, I’ve taught junior, and senior high school English, Social Studies, Science, PDR and Child Studies. In addition, I’ve also taught dance, choreographed school musicals, and hosted confidence workshops you name it! Suffice to say I’ve pretty much dedicated a tremendous amount of my life back to educating and helping youth, and yet it doesn’t even compare the work that teachers and mentors do every single day.
Shaping and molding the minds of youth is not easy (trust me I know), but it is oh so rewarding. And to see the sheer joy on these kids faces, and their bravery when sharing their VERY personal stories was truly heart warming.
I’m from a small town, and while I’ve never personally struggled with my sexual identity of course I do know many who have. In my experience, my friends have had to move away to feel comfortable expressing and sharing who they really are, and that’s just devastating. You shouldn’t have to leave your home town (friends and family) to feel like you belong and can fully be who you really are. And yet here in on stage at WE day a young man announced to an entire stadium that he was gay and he was embraced with open arms. And while this should be a given, it definitely wasn’t when I was growing up. Nothing will compare to amazing acceptance from each and every one of those kids, and it really just goes to show (to me) how far we’ve come.
I just know that he was just one example of many at WE Day that lead by example, and remind us that we need to fully embrace who we are, and know that we are enough.
I was so inspired by these kids, and how brave they were. I mean I’d be shaking in my boots up there speaking in front of such a large crowd. But I will say it was a warm welcoming one (as it should be). What’s really cool about the WE Day event is that the kids who attend have to earn their ticket. It’s not something you just go out and buy, but rather their volunteer service is their currency. For more info on that click here.
I’d never been to WE Day, so it was my first time, and wow what an inspiring event.
We really need more initiatives like this especially in Atlantic Canada! In my experience, it’s typically the kids who need it most that get overlooked. Kids need to know that they matter, and their feelings and anxieties are real and matter! And that so many are probably going through something similar so they are not alone. Teen suicides are on the rise, and it’s no surprise with the prevalence of online bullying and social media (I could go on and on).
But when you open of the conversation you’re doing a lot more than think! With an arena is filled with future leaders and change makers telling their personal stories you give kids hope, and that’s the best gift you can give them!
After WE Day I’m confident the future is in good hands (we still have work to do) but I’m just so happy to have been able to experience WE Day, and learn more about their amazing initiatives. I felt so fortunate to get such a thorough tour; I got a really good grasp on the amount of work that goes into an event of this size. Rather than being stuck in a booth the entire time, I was front row, behind the scenes, backstage! I had conversations with people controlling all the moving parts. We Day is like the fine tuned machine, every cog in the wheel is strategically planned out, and while many events in Halifax tend to scale themselves down out East: this was not the case for WE Day Atlantic.
Halifax got the full We Day meal deal, and I’ve never seen the Scoitabank Centre look so good. I was seriously impressed.
I just want to say a huge thank you to Ford for inviting me to participate in WE Day, and providing me with some sweet wheels to get me there! It’s always refreshing to me to see big brands like Ford give back to the community. If you’ve been a reader of Short Presents for a while you know that we strategically align ourselves with the brands we decide to work with, and Ford is no exception. I love that Ford is huge supporter of communities all across Canada and during the month of October Ford converted their dealerships into food drives for their WE Scare Hunger campaign. It’s super easy to get involved you simply drop off a non-perishable donation at any Ford dealership and Ford will make sure it reaches empty shelves in food banks across Canada. While it doesn’t have to take much, it sure does make a big difference to those who need it.
I know we all have bills, and we all have our own struggles, but I think it’s so important to give back whenever we can. I’ve seen extreme poverty, it was all around me as a kid, and again when I was teaching high school: that stuff sticks with you.
Kids don’t get to choose their situations (heck a lot of adults don’t either), and I know a lot of hard working people who are just trying to do their best but for many reasons (that’s a whole other blog post) it just doesn’t cut it, and it seems like no matter how hard they try they just can’t seem to get ahead. It’s easy to judge, and make assumptions, but we don’t know why or how people got into their situations, but really it shouldn’t matter.
With the holidays just around the corner let’s all take a cue from these amazingly inspiring kids and try to take a moment to stop thinking about ourselves, and extend a helping hand where ever we can. It is the season of giving after all. And who knows you might just make a difference in someone’s life, and really that’s truly the best gift of all.
Hope you enjoyed this post.