Young philanthropists from all over Pictou County will be congregating in Halifax this week to take part in WE Day on November 30.
The gathering of students from all across the province is hosted by the organization ME to WE to help reward and inspire students to give back to their community and the world.
“This is my second year,” said Jenna MacLeod about her involvement in ME to WE. “It’s kind of about helping other people, the less fortunate.”
Clubs that are in many schools across the county can often be seen fundraising or holding events to benefit either their local community or the global community. MacLeod shared that right now, the group at McCulloch Education Centre is selling Rafiki Bracelets. In Swahili, Rafiki means friend. Each bracelet represents a different cause. If you buy a food bracelet then money is donated to help feed people who need it, and a similar idea with water, education and other causes.
Other than fundraising and getting involved in their local community, the program also gives kids the opportunity to travel.
“In the future I’d like to go on one of the service trips that they go on, to help make a difference,” MacLeod said.
As well as helping out the global community, students help their local community with other fundraising campaigns such as the recent We Scare Hunger food drive that students held at Halloween. All the food collected was given to local food banks.
“There’s the fact that we’re actually doing something in the world,” said Rebecca Young, a Pictou Academy student who has been involved in the program for four years. “It just feels great to be a part of something.”
Along with the local and global impact of ME to WE it is also having a family and personal impact. Celebrating along with the students this year are two of the Atlantic Canada WE Day co-chairs, Sean and Crystal Murray. They have travelled as a part of Me to WE and have been able to take in the impact that the organization has on individuals and families, as two of their own children are involved.
“Sean and I have always felt very strongly about the WE movement philosophy that is devoted to building social consciousness, responsibility and kindness. We also looked at our relationship with WE as a platform for our children to learn more about philanthropy. These are values that are very important to us,” said Crystal.
“While we love what WE has done for us as a family, our continued involvement will be grounded in what WE can do for other families here at home and in the WE Villages in Africa, South American and India. The lasting influence of students involved in WE programming has tremendous impact. I am very proud of our local educators who take the time to assist with WE School groups.”
Sean added, “As a parent and coach, I witness the challenges faced by youth today. WE Day is about self-empowerment, collective action and purpose. I have seen the impact that WE Charity is having in our schools, our homes and around the world. Along with my family I am very proud to be involved in such an impactful event and charity. We need to celebrate our youth and their ability to change our world.”
For Young, it is her first time attending WE day. She added that she is really excited to be able to take part in the bigger celebration. In total, about 123 kids from Pictou County will be attending the celebration this year.
“It feels even more like we’re making a difference.”
Rebecca Young, left, and Jenna MacLeod