From deep personal stories of overcoming and triumph to audience dance parties, the territory’s first Mini We Day kept the energy up all day Friday.
“It is a movement to inspire us to make the impossible possible,” 18-year-old Lauren Seabrook said Friday, before going on stage to share her story. She got heavily involved with the We movement at the school at a time when she was going through immense challenges.
“I spent the majority of middle school out of the hospital. In a way, my life kind of fell apart because I was such a highly competitive athlete, really good academically and everything and then I was in a wheelchair and crutches just crippled by chronic pain,” she says. It was at this point Seabrook shifted her focus to the Me to We group.
Since then, she’s been raising money for international and local causes and inspiring others to do the same. Seabrook estimates she’s raised $30,000 since Grade 5 and she has picked up a Governor General’s Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers along the way.
“I like to say that my chronic illnesses that I’ll have for the rest of my life, they have taken a lot from me. But they’ve also given me a lot that I wouldn’t have been able to have without having them,” she says. “I don’t think I would have become this passionate about making a difference, had it not been for that. Because I had a whole separate plan for what I wanted to do with my life before, and now after.”
Seabrook says she’ll leave the audience with three messages to take home – “there’s always time, no small effort is wasted and we’re better together.”
A smaller, local version of WE Days across the country, the Mini We Day is a conference where children and youth can share their stories, get inspired about social change and ‘know they are not alone in what they’re going through,’ says middle school teacher and Me to We group organizer Mélanie Parisella. Themes at Friday’s event included overcoming discrimination and other life challenges, achievement in sport, living with mental illness and others.
The Me to We group at William McDonald Middle School has been working in a number of different areas this year – for example collecting 745 pounds of food in an October food drive and raising $1,000 for water projects in developing countries. The club has also built a school in Ecuador and are continuously fundraising for projects such as a water well at the school.