7,500 Student leaders + Canada's top speakers and entertainers equals one event that will change the world

    Canada's socially conscious speakers and entertainers inspire, educate,
    and energize thousands of youth to THINK WE

    TORONTO, Oct. 19 /CNW/ - "We are the generation we have been waiting for"
screamed the 7,500 student leaders who assembled at the Ricoh Coliseum in
Toronto for National Me to We Day, an event that combined the energy and
passion of Canada's top socially conscious speakers and entertainers.
    An initiative led by Canadian-based NGO Free The Children, National Me to
We Day was organized to educate, empower and equip youth to become leaders
through social activism and make a difference in their local and global
community. The event was hosted by celebrity guest Ben Mulroney and featured
presentations by Roméo Dallaire, Irshad Manji, the cast of Degrassi: The Next
Generation, Mark Tewksbury as well as Craig Kielburger and Marc Kielburger,
founders and directors of Free The Children. Unable to attend due to the
arrival of this first child, Justin Trudeau prepared a video message
celebrating the power of youth: "Young people are not the leaders of tomorrow,
youth are the leaders of today!" Presenters spoke on specific global issues
including poverty, sustainable development, health, women's empowerment, as
well as ways to get involved in the issues and take action. The excitement was
maintained through high energy musical breaks, including performances by
recent Canadian Idol winner, Brian Melo, and pop sensation Hanson.

    Join the movement

    The students in attendance represented more than 500 schools across
Ontario. Their peers from coast-to-coast joined the celebration via an online
web cast. "It made me realize what we can do have if we work together," said
Melissa D'mello, grade 11, Pope John Paul II School. "All of us here are going
to take what we learned today and bring it back to our schools and get more of
our friends involved. Today was just the beginning."
    The momentum of National Me to We Day will continue through the Year of
We - a year-long initiative connecting youth, families and offices to their
global community. Me to We kits for educators, families and offices provide a
combination of tangible actions, innovative campaigns and daily actions to
help support international development work.

    It begins with WE

    The name of the event, Me to We, represents a new way of thinking and
living. "It is a philosophy that focuses less on "me" and more on "we" - our
local and global community," said Marc Kielburger. "It can be as simple as
choosing to buy fair trade coffee and making ethical purchases." Youth and
educators attending the Day received an ethically manufactured t-shirt donated
by JACOB and created by Me to We: (Responsible Style). "We were so inspired by
this event and Free The Children's work, we created t-shirts with the slogan,
"Helping Others Never Goes Out of Style," said Joey and Odette Basmaji,
founders of JACOB. The t-shirts are created in collaboration with Me to We:
(Responsible Style) and will be sold in JACOB stores across the country until
October 27. 100% of the profits will be donated to Free The Children.
    The National Me to We Day was made possible at no cost to students and
schools through the support of numerous companies and organizations. National
Bank Financial was the title sponsor of the event. For more information about
the event and for official photographs and more, visit

    About Free The Children

    Free The Children is the world's largest network of children helping
children through education, with more than one million youth involved in
innovative education and development programs in 45 countries. Founded in 1995
by international child rights activist Craig Kielburger, Free The Children has
a proven track record of success. Through the energy and passion of youth,
Free The Children has built more than 450 schools around the world, shipped
more than $11 million US in essential medical supplies, and provides education
for 40,000 children everyday. The organization has received the World's
Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child (also known as the Children's
Nobel Prize), the Human Rights Award from the World Association of
Non-Governmental Organizations, and has formed successful partnerships with
leading school boards across Canada as well as Oprah's Angel Network in the
United States.

    Interviews with Free The Children spokespersons and youth participants
are available upon request.

For further information:

For further information: Melissa Yaw, Cell: (416) 528-9134, Office:
(416) 925-5894 x248, E-mail: melissa@freethechildren.com

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Free The Children

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