No more hockey. No more swimming lessons. For 15,000 Thunder Bay families living in poverty, the proposed funding cuts in 2005 meant the end of the only affordable sports and recreation programs available to their children. The council debate was rancorous. The motion looked ready to pass. Then one councillor rose to remind his colleagues of their promise to the city's young: the Children's Charter.
In the small First Nations community of Moricetown, in central B.C., teens haunt the convenience stores and gas bars, their lives adrift. Locals call them "phantoms." Cain Michell, then 14, was one of them. His life changed when Moricetown teachers Tom and Lorna Butz came knocking in 2012,
Clemantine Wamariya went years without taking a shower. Living with the filth and stench was still preferable to risking rape in a refugee camp bathroom. It would be six more years before she again had a home not constructed out of blue and white United Nations tarps, and several more years before she became a Yale University grad and activist for displaced peoples. Wamariya's incredible success story is a testament to what refugees can achieve when every day is not just a fight for survival.
Although she attended primary school, Daisy's family couldn't afford the fees to send her to high school. But when Barengetuny was 19, development workers began travelling from village to village by motorcycle, including her community of Motony, introducing women to the micro-finance "merry-go-round." Now she's an established businesswoman.
What astounds us is that, despite everything he saw and endured during the apartheid years, Tutu remains one of the most joyful human beings we know. A laugh is never far from his lips. When music plays, he is the first on his feet dancing. We can only attribute this to his mastery of the art of forgiveness. Tutu's soul remains unburdened by anger and vindictiveness.
Malala Yousafzai has recovered to become a crusader for universal education. Less often do we hear about Ziauddin -- or "Zia", as he is affectionately known -- who was the family's first crusader. He is his daughter's greatest champion and confidant.
Should learning to program a mobile app take precedence over diagramming iambic pentameter in Shakespeare's sonnets?
If there were such a thing as a rock star politician, the man known affectionately around the globe as "Madiba" is one. Today's youngest generation did not witness his historic struggle, release or election. Yet they know his extraordinary messages of equality, hope and forgiveness. And they are ready to receive his torch.
What if your favourite TV show prompted you to take social action? What if, while binge-watching a full season of Friday Night Lights, a link appeared to a pledge against the use of performance enhancing drugs? Pivot TV, a cable network launched last month, is targeting millennials (ages 18 to 34) by incorporating these calls to action in its programming.
Inspired and compelled by celebrity luminaries including The Barenaked Ladies and Serena Ryder, as well as some particular youth favourites such as Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers, the feeling at We Day 2013 in the Air Canada Centre was electric.