Freshmen and sophomores ‘connect passions with service’ at WE Day


Photo credit: Anna Brodsky

Participants wait for the WE Day festivities to start. The event celebrates youth catalyzing local and global change.

Archer students got the opportunity for the third year in a row to join the exclusive club of WE Day-goers on April 27.

WE Day is an annual event that takes place in various places around the world, but the entire WE Movement was started by brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger with the intent of being “a movement that brings people together and gives them the tools to change the world,” according to some promotional material.

Archer students got the chance to attend WE Day thanks to the leadership of sophomores Livia Blum and Sammy Roucher, who have been pioneering this program since 2015.

The WE Charity, a faction of the WE Movement, began with the intent of freeing children and their families from poverty and exploitation. Since its early stages, the charity has expanded its ideas to a global enterprise. The ultimate goal of this faction of WE is to “empower domestic and international change,” according to their promotional material.

Since then, they have expanded even further to include WE Day and WE Schools, which are international programs to help inspire students to create global change.

“In Canada, the US, and the UK, WE Day and WE Schools are initiatives of WE Charity that educate and empower young people. WE Schools is a yearlong educational program that nurtures compassion in students and gives them the tools to create transformative social change. And WE Day is a series of stadium-sized events that celebrate youth making a difference in their local and global communities,” the WE Day website said.

Archer became a WE School this year, again through the leadership of Blum and Raucher. After attending WE Day as a volunteer in seventh grade, Blum decided to bring the organization to Archer.

“I had such an amazing time; I’d never been in a room that was so inspiring. There were a bunch of people who wanted to change the world there, and it seemed like the perfect place for Archer girls to be,” Blum said.

Through “I Am,” a club that Blum and Raucher co-founded, the two worked to bring their classmates to WE Day. Since the first group of 14 Archer girls attended in 2015, Archer has become increasingly involved with the organization. This year, Archer became a WE School, establishing even stronger ties to the WE Movement. Because of this new status, Archer was awarded 50 tickets to give to deserving students dedicated to service.

Meg Shirk, the liaison to the WE School program at Archer described the process of choosing students.

“We knew that lots of ninth and tenth graders would be interested in going, so we had to figure out a system to award the tickets properly, based on who’s the most inspired and who has done the most work. So we created an application and 50 students were granted tickets,” Shirk said.

This opportunity was only given to freshmen and sophomores because these are the only two grades to have experienced the refreshed freshmen community service curriculum. But, despite limited eligibility, the tickets were in high demand at Archer.

“Some kids were on a waiting list because we couldn’t grant everyone a ticket,” Shirk said.

Once at the event, which took place at The Forum in Los Angeles, students had the opportunity to listen to motivational speakers such as Spencer West, Winnie Harlow and Lizzie Velasquez. Students also had the opportunity to watch performances by Alicia Keys, Grace Vanderwaal, Alessia Cara, Jessie J and many more artists and celebrities which can be found on the WE Day website.

“Every year, they do a great job of highlighting different things,” Raucher added. “There are so many different ways you can connect your passions with service.”

“It’s just an incredible message that the youth have the power to change the world,” Shirk said. “There were 20,000 kids that were dedicated to service, and to see that in action was really powerful and is really promising for the future.”