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OPINION – Review Of We Day Vancouver – From A Grade 6 Perspective

Chilliwack, BC – Paige Thomas is a Grade 6 student at Strathcona Elementary and under the tutalidge of Christopher Lister. His students have a great reputation for being astute and politically aware. Paige occasionally contributes to FVN. If you are a student and want a real forum for your writing, ask you Teacher/Professor/Instructor to contact us (radiodon11@gmail.com) . Part of FVN’s mandate is to promote young up and coming Fraser Valley Writers.

I had the privilege of attending this year’s “We Day Vancouver” event with my grade six class. On October 21st, Rogers Arena was packed full of eager and passionate youth who had each earned their invitation through activism and volunteer efforts.

We were treated to a day filled with exhilarating performances by celebrities and famous speakers. We were entertained,  inspired and celebrated, and in exchange for our ticket, each of us pledged to take part in one local and one global charitable action over the school year.

I had already had some small experiences of my own with charity. For my 9th birthday, I chose to begin sponsoring a child in Africa as my birthday gift. I have also been helping with my parents’ Christmas charity for the homeless since grade 3. I loved both experiences but WE Day left me wanting much more and left me believing that I was capable of achieving it. It was amazing to know that I was surrounded by thousands of my peers who were lit up with the same feeling. The future was changed before we took our seats on the school bus home.

We learned of a boy in Pakistan whose sad story sparked so much change in the world. Iqbal Masih was sold into slavery by his parents at four years old. He spent six years chained to a loom tying knots. After he was freed, he set out to help save other children from the same fate and was killed in 1995 at age 12 while riding his bicycle. It is believed that he was assassinated to stop him from making the  change that he was trying to make.

When a 12 year old Canadian boy named Craig Kielburger heard this this story, he and his older brother Marc started a small group and worked to continue Iqbal’s mission to free the children. Their endeavours grew and grew, and their organization “Free the Children”  is now the force that brings us the experience called WE Day. That was one of the most powerful and inspiring things I had ever heard.

The colour and philosophy of the event was persistently telling us that we are powerful. All of us are. Each and every single one. We have the youth, the time, and the mind, to change the world. We are the change.

The day told us that we all have potential to be heroes. Not to accept defeat. Have the strength to solve the problems of our planet. To look obstacles in the eye and tell them that they will not stand in our way. We are humans. We have instinct. We will one day be the adults, the leaders, the example.  For most, the anticipation and suspense of having that power is enough to be pushed to set our course for  greatness.

Many don’t realize how important they might be to the world one day. But elementary or high school student, girl or boy, WE Day is enough to make anyone feel significant and powerful enough to change the world.

WE are special. WE can make our dreams come true.WE have the power. WE will change the world. WE are WE Day.

It’s a day WE won’t forget.

Paige Thomas

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