Sartell students attend We Day 2014

Michele Nelson, Guest Writer

Every young person has the power to change the world.

This philosophy of empowerment was impressed upon the attendees who jam-packed the Excel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN last Wednesday for the 7th annual We Day.

ExcelKarrie Fredrickson

We Day is an event where thousands of people come together to be inspired to change the world. Last year’s focus was on how as individuals you can change the world by being conscious of what you say to others and how you act. This year’s focus was more on how to give back, locally and globally.

Chaperone and organizer of the field trip, Karrie Fredrickson, explained that We Day this year was a mix of speakers, like Magic Johnson, Martin Sheen, and Nelson Mandela’s grandson, and performers, like Colbie Caillat, The Band Perry, and Lennon and Maisy Stella that support giving and want to encourage young people to do what they can to make this world a better place.

Hali Peterson, a ninth grader who attended We Day, said her favorite part was “Magic Johnson. It was inspirational that he donated a million dollars to Feed the Children.” According to the We Day website, Feed the Children is “an international charity and educational partner [of We Day], working both domestically and internationally to empower and enable youth to be agents of change.”

Since it’s inaugural event in 2007, We Day has raised $37,000,000 for 1000 different causes. One of the charities that was highlighted this year was Fundraising Rafiki. In Swahili, the word Rafiki means friend. The women (“mamas” the organization calls them) from villages in Kenya hand-make pieces of jewelry to be sold. Of the money earned from the jewelry, 50% of it goes right back to the village. One of the guests of honor at We Day was a “mama” from Kenya.

rafikiMichele Nelson

Many students from Sartell schools attended this spectacular event. The middle school sent 70 plus students along with many teacher chaperones like Dave Gunderson, Luke Rude, Lori Dornburg, and Karlye Barron. The high school sent 66 students and three teachers, Angie Heckman, Jen Traver, and Karrie Fredrickson.

66Karrie Fredrickson

High school students who were invited to this event were mostly National Honor Society and Student Council students who are required to participate in many volunteer programs around the Sartell Community. After this opportunity was offered to students in these two program, Mrs. Fredrickson opened it up to the rest of the student body. Those who chose to participate in We Day then had to promise to be a part of the StudCo and NHS volunteering later on this school year.

We Day isn’t meant to be just a one-day-a-year thing. The We Day website explains, “We Day is an investment. The immediate impact is the millions of dollars raised for local and international charities, and the millions of hours volunteered. As Mission Measurement’s study of alumni shows above, the long-term impact is that young people are more likely to volunteer, vote and give—for years to come.”

Mrs. Fredrickson shares We Day’s sentiments, “It is my hope that the power of [Wednesday] ripples out from the people that participated.”