On October 22, Rogers Arena filled up early in the morning like many classrooms across British Columbia would. However, instead of the familiar math, science, and English lectures, the attendees—made up by a majority of elementary, middle and high school students—were empowered to dream bigger, achieve greater and shout loader.
Needless to say, We Day was not an average Wednesday.
This year’s event was built upon the concept of empowerment, framed around four different aspects: economics, technological, social and educational. With speeches and presentations from educators and celebrities within the popular youth periphery, the event made me wonder what impacts it would have had on me if I was 12 years younger, feeling the limitless power of my potential.
Although I sometimes carry the been-there-done-that attitude during events catered to the younger generation, I cannot help noticing the engagement between the youth and the technology they know and use oh so well. Smartphone cameras lit up the stadium the same way lighters were once held during a soft rock ballad. Live tweets from the audience created a whole other channel to share inspiring messages. And the addition of virtual engagement to earn points for a charitable cause speaks volume to the innovation of philanthropy.
Technology supports activism like a ladder supports a builder. In a global community, we need to reach higher and farther in order to make an effective change; and tech innovations and the leaders behind them are paving the way, allowing us to accomplish more when we do lend a hand. And We Day and their organizers at Free the Children have proven to be exceptional leaders in that regard.
During the event I was fortunate enough to be seated next to Lee Taal, CEO and founder of Chatter High, a gamified application that encourages high school students to participate in activities that educated them in real life decisions including, post-secondary choices, career opportunities, etc. The points earned through Chatter High can then be transferred into prizes or be donated to a charity through Free the Children.
“I think inside of us there is a desire to do good things,” said Taal, as We Day got underway. “[Students] don’t want to waste time and We Day gives them something to believe in. They know this organization.”
According to Locket, the average person checks their phone 110 times a day. Why? The speakers at We Day believe that “we check our phones so much because we are looking for something that inspire us.” There is a demand out there and technology can effectively fill that void.
For every download of the We Day We365 app, Telus will donate $5 to We Day and partnering educational programs. The application offers community challenges, track volunteer hours, acts a social media platform and reward achievements.
The events from We Day Vancouver will be broadcast on November 11 on MTV and on November 22 on CTV.