‘We Day’ 2012 Inspires Compassion and Hope

Today I had the privilege of attending We Day, Free The Children’s annual event aimed at inspiring young people across Canada. This was my second year at We Day, and it was even more inspiring and thought-provoking than the last. I was live-tweeting throughout the day, and you can read my thoughts at @DegrassiOnline.

For those of you who don’t know, We Day is a one day celebration of change and social activism. There are various ‘We Day’s’ across Canada (Vancouver, Montreal, etc.), but today’s massive event took place at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Approximately 20,000 young people were there for what organizers describe as “the call that brings a generation together.” Motivational speakers and celebrities appeared alongside some of today’s top musical artists. The goal was to inspire the audience to give back and change the world through a yearlong educational program.

This year performers included Jennifer Hudson who sang an incredible rendition of ‘Hallelujah,’ Nelly Furtado who performed alongside surprise guest K’naan, and future Degrassi guest stars Hedley. But the highlight of the day definitely had to be the speakers. Me to We speaker Molly Burke left the audience speechless as she described a particularly harsh experience with bullying. Canadian MP and future Liberal leadership candidate Justin Trudeau spoke about the difficulties that Aboriginal communities face in Canada. Lieutenant-General The Honourable Roméo Dallaire told the audience the importance this generation plays in stopping the use of child soldiers. And actor/activist Martin Sheen inspired the audience with his words about social activism at any age.

While the cast of Degrassi did not speak on stage at We Day this year, they were in the audience and meeting fans throughout the day! As well, a special video highlighting Degrassi’s recent trip to Ghana was played during the event. The video showed Degrassi cast members meeting the locals in the community and volunteering their time. Sam Earle described Ghana as “rich and beautiful,” and Charlotte Arnold expressed that she feels “re-energized to change my life in a positive way when I get home.” My guess is that these clips were from another Degrassi/Free The Children documentary that we will hopefully get to see sometime soon!

Update: Watch the Degrassi video right here!!

As one would expect from We Day, I left feeling rejuvenated, motivated, and empowered. Degrassi’s involvement with Free the Children has inspired all of us, and I feel like there is so much more that we could do. Throughout the years, Degrassi has taught us valuable life lessons, but their work giving back to the community with Free The Children is perhaps one of the most important lessons of all. There are thousands of Degrassians communicating via Twitter, Tumblr, etc. If we all came together, who knows what our wonderful amazing little fandom could accomplish?

For information on Me to We & Free The Children, visit their websites (FreeTheChildren.com and MeToWe.com). There you can find information on their upcoming campaigns such as We Create Change, We Scare Hunger, We Are Silent and many more. Think about what you are most passionate about, and see how other young people are making real impacts that are tangible and measureable. As Craig & Marc Kielburger would say – you can change the world!

Welcome Home Degrassi Cast Members!

Several Degrassi cast members are arriving home in Toronto tonight after what looks like an exciting trip to Ghana!

The cast was in Ghana for their annual Free The Children trip. They were there to help build a school and interact with the community. In previous years, Degrassi cast members have traveled to Kenya, Ecuador, India, and Haiti. Each year there has been a half-hour documentary promoting Free the Children and documenting the cast’s adventures. While we have not heard about a Ghana documentary yet, I am hopeful that we will soon. And with the cast back in Toronto, we will likely be getting pictures from the trip over the next few days.

Degrassi has supported Free The Children for many years now. FTC founder Craig Kielburger even made a cameo appearance in season 7. For several years, Degrassi cast members have also appeared at FTC’s annual We Day event. They have not been officially announced for We Day this year yet, but I think it’s safe to say that we will probably see a few of them there. Check out our exclusive report from We Day in Toronto last year!

For more information on Free The Children, visit www.freethechildren.com OR follow @freethechildren & @RealMeToWe on Twitter!

Degrassi Cast Attends We Day in Montreal

Jessica Tyler, Sam Earle, and Melinda Shankar were in Montreal today for Free The Children’s event We Day.

For those of you who don’t know, We Day is an event designed to inspire and celebrate youth to give back and work for global change.

The cast of Degrassi was there to share their experiences volunteering during their recent trip to Haiti. The Degrassi cast has been involved with We Day from the beginning. They also appeared at the Toronto event last fall (which I was lucky enough to attend), as well as many other We Day’s from years past.

For more information on We Day and how you can get involved with Free The Children, visit WeDay.com! Also, don’t forget to ‘like’ We Day on Facebook. Every ‘like’ donates $1 to Free The Children!

We Day 2011: Inspiration, Compassion, and Idealism

This is what a stadium full of 20,000 inspired young people looks like.

Today I had the privilege of attending We Day in Toronto, and as expected the annual event did not disappoint! The energy in the crowd was electric, the speakers were inspiring, and the performers were outstanding.

The message of the day was clear: be the change you want to see in the world. Learn how you can make a difference; whether it’s locally or internationally. In many ways, this is exactly what Degrassi stands for. More than anything, Degrassi is a show about acceptance and education. It’s about learning about the different issues that young people deal with and bringing understanding and compassion.

It was no surprise that almost the entire cast of Degrassi was in attendance. I spent most of my day in the press area with stars like Nelly Furtado and Kardinal Offishall. But I have heard that the cast was Degrassi was spotted around the venue by multiple fans. Munro Chambers and Aislinn Paul spoke to the audience about their recent trip to Haiti. You can watch a clip of their speech below. They also previewed scenes from Degrassi In Haiti, and it looks very emotional!

The highlight of the day was when Nelly Furtado announced that she was donating $1 million to Free The Children. It was so unexpected, and the audience went insane. It was very inspiring to see how committed she is to empowering girls and ensuring that girls around the world receive a proper education. I had the privilege of attending the press conference with Nelly Furtado and FTC founder Craig Kielburger later in the day. Check out video clips from that on our YouTube Channel!! I also have a few more videos to post, so keep checking for lots of amazing We Day coverage!!

Degrassi Cast Excited for We Day

We Day is less than 24 hours away, and it seems that I am not the only one excited for this amazing event! Jessica Tyler, Ray Ablack, and Shannon Kook-Chun have all recorded video messages stating why they are excited for tomorrow. Check them out at MuchMusic.com.

Tomorrow’s huge event in Toronto features an incredible lineup of special guests including celebrities and inspirational speakers from around the world. Munro Chambers and Aislinn Paul from Degrassi will be speaking to the crowd, but we are expecting several other Degrassi cast members to be in attendance as well.

For those of you who are unable to attend, you can watch We Day via live stream right here! The show starts at 9:30am ET. Much Music will likely also post video on demand later in the day.

I will also be live tweeting all day from the press room and the We Day red carpet (!!). Make sure you follow @degrasssifanscom for all the latest updates. I will also have my camera with me, so expect pictures, video, and an exclusive report at Degrassi-Fans.com this week!

Next Week: Munro and Aislinn at We Day!

We Day 2011 is fast approaching, and this year it is going to be bigger and better than ever!!

Featuring our own Munro Chambers and Aislinn Paul, the Toronto lineup also includes Nelly Furtado, Joe Jonas, Rick Hansen, Patch Adams, City and Colour, as well as Degrassi alumnus Nina Dobrev who is co-hosting!

For those of you who don’t know, We Day is an annual event organized by Free The Children. Each year, young people from across Canada gather to kick off a year of social action. Motivated by powerful speakers and performers, young people will take what they learned at the event and make positive changes in their communities. We Day is the perfect example of how young people can create real and tangible change. In the 2010/2011 school year, We Day youth volunteered 1.7 million hours of their time and raised $5.4 million!!

Degrassi has been involved with We Day since they very beginning. This year is no exception. Aislinn Paul and Munro Chambers will be speaking to the crowd. They will likely talk about their most recent trip to Haiti.

I’m also very happy to announce that I will also be in attendance!! Free The Children has offered me a media pass, so I will be backstage with my camera taking everything in!! Of course I will be live tweeting all day (@@Degrassifanscom), and I will also bring you a full report with exclusive pictures. It is going to be an amazing day!!

The Toronto event is on September 27th and takes place almost all day. For more information including video, behind the scenes, extras, and more, check out WeDay.CTV.ca. And don’t forget to ‘like’ We Day on Facebook to donate $1 to Free The Children!!