Thousands of students trying to change the world for the better filled the Scotiabank Saddledome for We Day Monday.
About 16,000 students from across the province were on hand for the youth empowerment event, having earned their way there by committing to helping local and global communities.
Peyton Lake, 12, raised $1,500 by shaving her head in honour of a family friend battling breast cancer.
The money she raised was part of $20,000 raised by her school, Arbour Lake middle school, that was donated to the Kids Cancer Care Foundation.
The school also raised $56,000 from a similar event two years earlier.
Peyton chopped off more than 30 cm of hair to be made into a wig for a cancer sufferer.
“I’m so blessed to have this life and I can help people who don’t have as much as I do,” she said.
Lake, who also has more good deeds in the works and was this week awarded a Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award, said it felt good to be surrounded by youths trying to make a difference at We Day.
“Having 16,000 people here wanting to do the same thing as you, it makes you feel inspired even more,” she said.
Andrew Shepherd, a Grade 9 student at Westmount Charter school, has been collecting books through drives and donations — many from First Book Canada.
His project, Kids 4 Education, delivers books to communities without easy access to library facilities.
So far, he has delivered 5,000 books to Maskwacis and this week, he plans to take 2,000 to Siksika Nation.
His focus is encouraging kids to learn to read, he said, adding there are programs to help with literacy in developing nations, but he wanted to do something to help the local community.
“I’m hoping they can get the books, learn to read and become more interested in reading,” he said.
Among the speakers and performers at We Day were actress Mia Farrow, Canadian Olympian Silken Laumann, chairman and editor in chief of Forbes Media Steve Forbes, Canadian astronaut Dr. Dave Williams, rapper Kardinal Offishall and singers Nikki Yanofsky, Virginia to Vegas, Alyssa Reid and Karl Wolf.
“We Day is the inspiration and a celebration for service and the real work starts when these students go back to their classrooms and communities to take action on causes and issues important to them,” said Craig Kielburger, who along with his brother Marc, founded Free the Children and We Day.
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