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This article was published 11/10/2017 (249 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
For Tai Young, We Day Manitoba can’t come fast enough.
But then the 13-year-old Young doesn’t wait to do a lot of things.
Young was born with a spinal cord injury. When he was 18 months old, doctors said Young would never sit, stand or walk.
Today, Young is heavily involved in musical theatre. He plays tennis, fences and serves as an ambassador for several agencies, including Easter Seals, and works putting together his own video productions.
"I believe people with disabilities all have value and everybody should try new things," Young said, on the phone from Toronto. "You never know what can happen."
That’s the message Young will be delivering on Oct. 25, when he co-hosts We Day Manitoba along with Hannah Alper, a 14-year-old activist and motivational speaker.
The Winnipeg event will be held at Bell MTS Place in front of more than 16,000 youth and educators from across the province. A list of celebrity performers and speakers announced by We Day organizers included George Takei, Jully Black, Kenyan Boys Choir, Kerry Kennedy, Panicland, David Patchell-Evans and Sarah Wells.
Featured speakers will also include international activists and We co-founders, Craig and Marc Kielburger.
"We Day celebrates a generation of empowered youth, who have come together in the hope that the world can be better a place," Craig Kielburger, a child rights activist, said in a press release. "You couldn’t imagine a more incredible energy as the stadium fills with the country’s next generation of change-makers, committed to making a lasting difference across the globe. This year alone, we saw more than 475 schools and youth groups from across Manitoba rise to the challenge of creating sustainable change, proving that together, we can make doing good, doable."
In the 2016-17 school year, We schools and groups across Manitoba volunteered more than 227,000 hours and raised nearly $750,000 in support of more than 420 local and global causes including hunger, poverty, the environment and bullying.
We Day — the world’s largest youth empowerment event — is free of charge to students and educators across Canada. There will be 19 events in Canada, the U.S. and UK, which are attended annually by 200,000 students from over 10,000 schools, thousands watching online and millions more watching through national TV broadcasts across North America.
For example, last year, students from Donwood Elementary School in East Kildonan organized a Christmas card campaign, selling Christmas cards and hot chocolate to raise funds for Siloam Mission. Students also organized student-teacher volleyball games to fundraise for health-focused projects in Kenya’s We Villages communities.
We was founded in 1995 to educate and empower students who want to make a difference in their community. The organization is now global, supporting more than 2,500 causes by volunteering millions of hours of service and raising millions for local communities around the world.
Globally, We’s teams in Asia, Africa and Latin America have provided more than one million people with clean water, built 1,000 schools and school rooms overseas and empowered more than 200,000 children with access to education, according to the organization.
This year marks We Day’s 10th season events — the first-ever We Day took place on Oct. 7, 2007, at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto. Since 2007, youth involved in We Schools have achieved remarkable results: $79 million raised for more than 6,500 local and global organizations, with 27.6 million hours volunteered for local and global causes and 9.8 million pounds of food collected by youth for local food banks.
Randy Turner has spent much of his journalistic career on the road. A lot of roads. Dirt roads, snow-packed roads, U.S. interstates and foreign highways. In other words, he’s got a lot of kilometres on the odometer, if you know what we mean.