by Cori Hilsgen
More than 40 Kennedy Community School students who recently attended We Day at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul returned to school motivated to take action.
One of the actions they are taking is to participate in a project called “We Scare Hunger.” Students will be trick-or-treating on Halloween for canned goods and donations for area food shelves.
Mike Stuber and Jesus Sandoval, both teachers at Kennedy, accompanied the students. Stuber teaches social studies and Sandoval teaches math.
This is the first year Kennedy has been involved with the event. Stuber said there was a short application process to attend.
Many speakers and artists attended We Day – some very popular.
“The students are really energized and excited,” Stuber said. “They really heard a positive message that young people can have a huge impact and help others.”
The WE Day event was organized with Free the Children and the We Act Program, which works to help young people get involved in social change through volunteering and fundraising. It’s a movement empowering a generation of young people through an inspiring event and a year-long educational initiative called We Act. This initiative offers resources and other materials to turn this day of inspiration into continued activation.
Organizers believe this is the first generation that can end the worst forms of poverty and empower young people to embrace new actions that remove barriers that prevent youth from creating social change. The worldwide movement puts into action the philosophy anyone can change the world.
The students take their ideas back to their own towns and cities to help inspire change. These participants commit to completing one local action and one global action. They share their action plans and the results with other We schools.
“I was impressed how motivated students can and are willing to help others,” Stuber said.
Students from Kennedy, St. John’s Prep, North and South junior highs, and Apollo, Tech, Cathedral, Sauk Rapids and Sartell high schools attended the event. The students want to get involved and do things in their areas. Throughout the school year, the schools will host projects. They are also looking for other ways they can make a difference.
Hilsgen is a contributing reporter for the Newsleaders. The central Minnesota native is a wife, mother and grandmother. She has a Bachelor's degree in Organizational Management and Communication from Concordia University – St. Paul, MN and enjoys learning about and sharing other people's stories through the pages of the Newsleaders.