We Day: A Gift from TELUS for our Young Moms
Free the Children‘s youth event National We Day came to Ottawa again this year, on Wednesday, April 1st at the Canadian Tire Centre. Our valued friends at TELUS were very generous and provided 20 tickets for our students and staff to attend this event, which combines music, dance, keynote speeches and fun for youth ages 12 and up.
This year students and staff made special “Youville Centre” t-shirts to wear to the event. Cindy (our Executive Director) and Heather (Communications) even got to meet one of the special musical guests, Kardinal Offishall. JRDN (Jordan) and Kardinal were our students’ favourite musical acts of the day.
We Day brings in speakers from all over the world to share stories to inspire, empower, and educate. Hearing-impaired actress Marlee Matlin inspired our young moms. “You can do anything no matter what the obstacles. She said, ‘the only true limits are the ones we set for ourselves’ and I really liked that quote because I agree with it”, said Sherry, one of our students.
It was an inspiring and thought-provoking day. One of the most inspiring speakers of the day was 14 year old local Ottawa youth, Jonathan Pitre. In the above photo, he is with Founder of Free the Children, Craig Kielburger. Our young moms had this to say about Jonathan: “He is brave. He struggles with his bandages but he still dreams and goes about his day. He’s strong.” — Rachelle; “He talked about chasing his dreams and that your handicap is in your head.” — Sherry; “He’s a soldier. He’s tough.” — Kristin. The always inspiring Spencer West (above right) embodies courage and positivity. Our students admired him because, “He is still living life. He adapted to his situation.” — Taina.
Youville’s favourite speaker of the day was Calgary-based author, journalist, and philanthropist who was a victim of kidnapping, Amanda Lindhout. “She took her experience and made good out of it. Even though people caused her that great pain, she’s helping others. That’s some major resiliency.” — Sherry; “She’s focusing on the positive.” — Taina.
TELUS said it best when they created a hashtag for the day, #changeisinyourhands. Every day at Youville Centre we live this philosophy that change is possible and it is in our hands. Our young moms are courageous and they come to school each day to make change in their lives, and for their children.
When asked what they related to the most from We Day’s messages, our young moms said, “Pushing past boundaries relates to being a teen mom because not everyone is accepting of it.” — Sherry; and “We related to the mothers in Kenya because they are also providing for their children.” — Kristin.
Many thanks to TELUS for making it possible for our students to attend We Day again this year. Our student council is now dreaming up local and global actions to plan and do in the 2015/2016 academic year, to help others in need at home and abroad.