Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Another first for Tahoma Junior High . . .

I had the great fortune to spend the day with 29 students and staff from the JH at We Day in Seattle.  We joined about 15,000 others at Key Arena to celebrate the power of youth to create positive change in their local and global communities. We were one of about 100 schools from across the state that were invited to this event with the invitation earned through service.  It was a high energy event with singing, dancing, and moving stories.

We Day is an event that grew from Free the Children, a non-profit organization formed by two Canadian brothers, Marc and Craig Keilburger who are building schools across the world.  Theirs is now a world wide movement celebrating the experiences of youth as leaders that are making a difference in their world today.  Their message focused on creating a spark around a passion that one person has to change the world and to then act on that passion with others who share that passion.  Age is not a barrier - youth can and are making a difference.

The event today in Seattle was the first We Day to be held in the United States and we were able to be a part of it.  It was a star studded event with stars from the entertainment and sport fields sharing their experiences with people from the business world as well as elected officials.  You can see the lineup of those that had a role on this site.

It was also a day where young people from around the world shared their life experiences and how they overcame sometimes unbelievable circumstances to realize that they can at a young age make a difference in their world.  I was truly moved by these stories and the strength and commitment to change shown by these young people and the acceptance and support they were given by the audience.  Below, I'll try to capture in my words what I heard from some of those sharing their stories.  It is difficult for me to capture in words the emotions that were in the room, but I'll try.

Co-Chair of the event, Pete Carol:

  • Commitment starts with a vision to make it happen - let the world hear from you.
J.R. Martinez an Iraqi war veteran and burn victim.
  • What's normal?  Accepting who you are and yourself as normal is being you.
  •  How do you leave the bad and get to the good?  When in a bad place in life you need to believe, to have hope and to make the right choices to get back to a good place in life.
  • Be the change you want to see in world - speak up every day.
Spencer West a young man who lost his legs at age 5 and has accomplished so much in his life including climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa.
  • After losing his legs he heard others talk about he can't and won't - learned through his life experience that it is not about can't and won't it is about HOW.  He found his How was through sharing his story and assisting others in finding their HOW.
  • Go for the WOWS baby.
There were so many others like Martin Sheen, Mia Farrow, Jennifer Hudson, Seahawks Wilson, Sherman Moffitt and Okung, Magic Johnson, Gary Payton, and Martin Luther King III that I could add many more stories to this post. Unfortunately, I had an evening meeting and got started late on the post and need to consider closing down for the night so I'll close with what was the highlight of the day for most of the young people.  The surprise at the end was Seattle singer Macklemore.  It was loud all day, but when he was introduced the decibel level increased significantly.  The kids went wild, he their attention.

It was a great ending as he shared how they had traveled all night so they could get back to Seattle for this event.  
Look up respect admire what you doing for others in the world Giving back to others is imperative to be happy in this life Good see key arena packed young people making difference
  • He shared the great respect and admiration that he had for the young people for doing what they do for others in the world.
  • Giving back to others is imperative to be happy in this life.
  • With his Sonic's jersey on he shared how it was great to see Key Arena packed with young people making a difference in this world.
It was a great day for me and a cherished opportunity to share this stirring event with our young people and adults from TJH.

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