--Partnership will allow students in rural communities to experience inspirational educational event We Day, in cities across Canada --
TORONTO, May 6, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, WestJet and international charity and educational partner, Free The Children, announced a partnership that will connect students across Canada to thousands of like-minded young people at We Day events across the country. Together, through the WestJet Cares for Kids program, WestJet and Free The Children will fly students from rural communities to regional We Days, allowing them to experience the annual youth empowerment event for the first time. As a sponsor of We Day events across Canada, WestJet will also help inspire thousands of local students to get involved in active global citizenship and join a movement of young people dedicated to changing the world. To celebrate today's announcement, Gregg Saretsky, WestJet President and CEO, and Free The Children co-founder Craig Kielburger were joined by local students and enjoyed a special surprise performance by International recording artist, Socan & MTV Europe Music Award winner, and past We Day performer, Karl Wolf.
Inspired by the efforts of youth dedicated to making a difference in their communities, WestJet will provide flights for amazing young people from Thunder Bay, Whitehorse, Regina, Fort McMurray, Yellowknife, St. John's and Moncton to one of seven regional We Day events across Canada. An initiative of Free The Children, We Day is taking the philanthropic world by storm with events in the US, Canada and the UK. This year alone, over 180,000 young people have come together in stadium gatherings to take part in this unprecedented educational initiative. WestJet will also support We Day events in communities throughout Canada including Toronto, Vancouver, Alberta, Manitoba, Waterloo Region, Montreal, Atlantic Canada and National We Day in Ottawa. Students can't buy a ticket to We Day, they earn it through service; by committing to take action on at least one local and one global initiative of their choice as part of the year-long educational program called We Act.
"At WestJet, we want to recognize young Canadians who are dedicated to making a difference both here at home and in communities around the world," said WestJet President and CEO Gregg Saretsky. "By giving these students the chance to experience We Day, we hope to encourage them to continue their work, and bring the spirit of community service back to their hometowns."
Earlier this year, WestJet and Free The Children selected Westgate Collegiate Institute in Thunder Bay as the first remote school to travel to a We Day event, and a dozen students flew to Ottawa for National We Day this past April. Watch their trip here.
Today's announcement took place at WestJet's Annual General Meeting at the Toronto Stock Exchange building, where board members were joined by students from Toronto's St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School, who will be the first of seven schools across the country to host their peers travelling to We Day events. Students from St. Thomas Aquinas have taken action on many local and global issues with Free The Children including fundraising in support of education in Kenya, collecting canned goods for a local food bank and will be organizing their own mini We Day. This fall, the school will host students and educators from Thunder Bay, providing them with a place to stay and an opportunity to connect with other young world-changers, as they experience the excitement of We Day for the first time. "For many students across Canada, attending We Day is an opportunity to be inspired by the actions of their peers, and to share their commitment to taking action on the issues they care about," said Craig Kielburger, co-founder of Free The Children. "We are extremely grateful to WestJet for opening the door to We Day for amazing young people who otherwise may not have the opportunity to participate, and helping them be part of a movement of youth dedicated to making a difference in our world."
We Act provides the tools and resources for schools to help prepare students to become global citizens. Through the We Act program, students earn their way to We Day, a movement empowering a generation of young global citizens through an inspirational event. The year-long educational program supports students and teachers with free educational resources, student-led campaigns and support materials to help turn the inspiration of We Day into sustained activation.
We Day has over 1 million followers on Twitter and is one of the world's largest charitable causes on Facebook with 3.8 million fans. Stay connected with We Day and Free The Children through the following social networking channels:
About Free The Children
Free The Children is an international charity and educational partner. Founded in 1995 by international activist Craig Kielburger, Free The Children believes in a world where young people are free to achieve their fullest potential, and empowers youth to remove barriers that prevent them from being active local and global citizens. The organization's domestic programs - which include We Day, Free The Children's signature youth empowerment event - educate, engage and empower 2.3 million youth across North America and UK become engaged global citizens. Its international projects are implemented through a holistic and sustainable development model called Adopt a Village. Currently, Adopt a Village supports community development in eight countries; Kenya, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Ecuador, Haiti, Nicaragua, rural China and India. Through its international programming, Free The Children has brought more than 650 schools and school rooms to youth and provided clean water, health care and sanitation to 1 million people around the world, freeing children and their families from the cycle of poverty.
The organization has received the World's Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child, the Human Rights Award from the World Association of Non‐Governmental Organizations, and has formed successful partnerships with leading school boards and Oprah's Angel Network. For more information, visit www.freethechildren.com
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