Certain people have such boundless inner energy that it seems the whole global deficit might be solved, if only we could tap into their power reserves. Sylvie Fréchette is one of those people. It's not hard to see how this vivacious Québécoise helped Canada bring home the Olympic gold for solo synchronized swimming. We managed to pin down the bubbly Fréchette just long enough for a quick chat in Montreal.
When we asked Grammy-winning Canadian singer Nelly Furtado to travel with us to Kenya a few years back, we had no idea it would lead to an amazing friendship. Now an ambassador for Free The Children, she launched a matching fund to support the construction of a new all girls' high school in rural Kenya.
Have you ever felt the energy of 20,000 inspired young people vibrating through your veins? Probably not. I hadn't either, until last month, when I got to attend my first We Day. The Kielburger brothers have a presence and energy like no others. The tools to act local and think global are really just a mouse click away, so there are no excuses to not participate in the movement.
OneRepublic, the pop-rock quintet from Denver, Colorado, has been together since 2002, since they were in high school, or in the band's words, "since forever." They finish each other's sentences like siblings and cite each other as role models. We caught up with Drew Brown, Eddie Fisher and Brent Kutzle at We Day Vancouver last month.
I had a spectacular day at my second We Day event in Winnipeg which took place this past Tuesday, October 30, 2012. I was awed and humbled to be in the room with one of the greatest men who has ever lived: Former Soviet Union president Mikhail Gorbachev.
Cody Simpson is not your stereotypical teen star -- self-entitled or shrouded in scandal. Cody is thoughtful and genuine. Even after his rise to super pop stardom, 3.4 million Twitter followers and a sold-out "Welcome to Paradise" headline tour, Cody still travels with his Dad -- he is, after all, just 15 years old.
As I look towards next week and my schedule of responsibilities and events, I am keeping Tuesday, October 30th clear so that I can attend We Day, coming again to Winnipeg. We Day is a movement of young people leading local and global, social change. These are the notes that I hastily scribbled at the last We Day event that I attended:
Not all trick-or-treating is created equal. This Halloween, use an existing food supply and delivery system for a good cause; collect canned goods for your local food bank while you stockpile candy.
We've all heard the complaints about today's "apathetic" youth, but it's the adults who seem reluctant to step up. We can't help but feel that adults are passing the buck. If we want our kids to make change, they should witness us fighting city hall, building a school or even casting a ballot. If we don't set an example, we are naïve to think children will forge their own paths.
Many development projects are the product of the Field of Dreams Syndrome: the naïve belief that if you build a hospital, school or well, somehow, magically, doctors and teachers and maintenance workers will just appear to make the project a success. If we don't empower communities to manage projects independently, we might as well throw our money down the well we just drilled. It's more cruel to promise a better life and not deliver than to never offer aid at all.