Huffpost Canada ca
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Josh Bowman Headshot

10 Things I've Learned From Craig Kielburger

Posted: Updated:

1. I first saw Craig Kielburger speak when I was 14 or 15 years old, attending Jarvis Collegiate Institute. I am two years older than him, but I was inspired by his moxy and his passion at the time.. and still am.

2. You will be successful at a job that you find meaningful, even if at times you have to complete dull tasks. I can find joy in data entry when I know that it's going towards a greater good.

3. Young people do care about making their world better. 18,000 students just attended We Day at the Air Canada Centre, and I'd like to think it wasn't only to see Nelly Furtado. And... Shawn Desman?

4. You can be fit AND change the world. That guy is in great shape!

5. International development work is tricky. I like when organizations have a clear focus for the type of work they are doing, like Charity: Water and Operation Rainbow. It gives you something to zero in on in the grand and often overwhelming world of international development.

6. It's probably better to be optimistic than pessimistic. Being optimistic gives you the passion and drive to keep fighting an uphill battle, even if you aren't seeing results. It's harder, but it's better for you and the world around you.

7. The media is a double-edged sword for any charity. A good newspaper article or cable news feature can boost donations and awareness for your organization considerably. A focus on charitable waste or high executive salaries can be very bad for business. You have to be pretty media savvy these days, and you have to learn how to interact with your most passionate supporters through social media. These aren't optional skills.

8. I wonder what kind of world we would live in if teenagers spent even half the money they spend on clothes, videogames, movies, and phones on charity instead. Then I wonder what kind of world we would live in if I spent half the money I spend on eating out, drinking beer, trips to New York, and fancy cheeses on charity instead. The answer to both questions: a much better world.

9. People like to donate to children's causes, major diseases, and animals. That is why it's called "Free The Children" and not "Free the Single Middle-Aged Men."

10. I met Craig Kielburger again a few months ago at an employee charitable giving event for a huge financial company in Toronto. He came by and chatted with all of the charities (Free The Children were there, obviously) before making a keynote speech. I told him that I remember him speaking to me when I was much younger, and how much that inspired me to begin working in the world of charitable giving. He thanked me, and talked about how much he likes the organization I was working for at the time. Later, during his keynote speech, he mentioned other charities at the event, including mine. It was a small detail, but it meant a lot to me; it's rare and validating to see somebody with such a high profile keep it real like that.

Josh blogs about the many things he has learned and continues to learn at tenthingsivelearned.com.

Around the Web

Kielburger in Surrey for youthful SASSY awards

Nelly Furtado donates $1M paid by Gadhafi to charity

Global Voices: Don't forget about Dadaab

Young people inspired at 'We Day'