We Act Program
Generously supported in Canada by premier partner Royal Bank of Canada and program partner The Keg Spirit Foundation
Millions of young people across the globe don’t have the most basic things that we often take for granted: food, clean water, education. The challenges that poverty and inequality create are so large that solutions can only come from our collective effort. Action by young people across North America and the UK that tackles both local and global issues is the strongest step towards a more fair and fulfilled world. Free The Children seeks to create systemic change by empowering a generation of active global citizens to change the world on whatever issues they care about.
We Act (formerly We Schools in Action) is a comprehensive service learning program that empowers a generation to care about local and global issues. The program, which includes WE Day and Free The Children campaigns, provides the practical tools needed to turn that inspiration into at least one local and one global action to benefit the issues and causes that youth care about. Designed to enhance a school’s existing service learning initiatives or to spark new ones, We Act transforms school communities through positive changes in student behavior, heightened engagement and the belief that it’s cool to care.
We Act provides:
- Service campaigns addressing various local and global issues accompanied by pre-packaged resources and supported by social media.
- Educational resources. Built as issues-based modules, lesson plans can be easily implemented into classrooms, after-school programs, and family learning.
- Action kits designed to provide tangible steps to take action on the issues youth and educators care most about.
- Online resources. The ultimate resource for youth, educators and families alike, WeDay.com is a one-stop shop for discovering one’s passion, learning about issues and taking action on ANY cause.
- Social media. Youth connect online around the issues they care about and the actions they take. Since the WE Day page launched on Facebook it has grown exponentially to almost 3.4M followers.
- Support staff. Full-time youth coordinator available to support and mentor youth and educators online or via phone.
A teacher must fill out our online form on behalf of their school to take part in the program, as schools are supported on an individual basis. Free The Children works in partnership with schools by providing free development sessions to teachers, and motivational speeches to select schools. Participation in the We Act program is not mandatory to attend WE Day. However, schools that make the commitment to take one local and one global action and submit two reports through the program will get first priority to attend the event.
Through their activities, and with the support of Free The Children, students are given the opportunity to participate in student-led campaigns, explore and develop their capacity for leadership, and to engage with the world in new ways. In turn, their efforts provide tangible benefits for local communities and around the world.
Welcome to the 2012/2013 We Act year! Please click here to download the We Act program guide. See below to learn more about the five program components:
Commit to action by applying to be a part of the We Act program. By applying into the program, schools make a commitment to take one local and one global action, and to report back to Free The Children through Report 1: Actions and Planning, and Report 2: Actions and Impacts. Please visit your city page where you can learn more information about application for the program and tickets to WE Day.
Attend Free The Children’s WE Day or watch via live webcast. For more ways to get involved with the We Act program, please visit your city page.
Educators will have the opportunity to attend free professional development sessions. Whether or not your school attends WE Day or watches the live webcast, every educator in the We Act program is invited to join us, free of charge. These sessions have been created to help educators derive the greatest benefit for students from the program. Sessions will include exploring new methods of instruction that will contribute to heightened student engagement, networking with colleagues for peer to peer learning and discussing effective models for empowering students to lead social justice learning and action. Educators will leave fully-equipped with the knowledge, resources and energy to tackle a year of action with their students. Students will benefit from motivational and educational presentations available for the entire student body.
Take one local and one global action throughout the year. Lead awareness and fundraising actions in your school and community. Actions are centered around one local and one global issue of your choice. Your youth programming coordinator at Free The Children will be there to help you every step of the way. Stay in touch to hear about upcoming campaign ideas and get access to great resources.
Share your plans and accomplishments with the community of We Act schools by reporting to Free The Children in the fall and spring of the 2012-2013 school year. Every school submits a report detailing how their group will take local and global action. Report 1: Action Plan is a key component to fulfilling the year-long commitment and informs the personalized support that our youth coordination team offers your school. Report 2: Actions and Impacts is a celebration piece that showcases your achievements over the course of the year. Stories will be shared with partners, media and the We Act community.
The We Act program increases student engagement in their school and community, and contributes to:
- Lifelong commitment to philanthropy
- Academic achievement
- A caring school culture
- Deeper connections between students and teachers
- Character education objectives
- Giving back to the community
Mission Measurement conducted a study in 2011 to assess the impact of WE Day and the We Act program. Overall, the program creates a holistic impact on students, educators as well as school atmosphere and culture.
- 76% of students are now more self-confident
- 81% of students believe more strongly that they have a responsibility to address social justice issues
- 82% of students have demonstrated increased leadership among their peers
- 79% of educators feel a renewed sense of purpose as an educator
- 81% of educators feel better equipped to teach their students about social justice issues
- 69% of respondents agreed that there is a greater atmosphere of caring and compassion in the school
Download the We Act Impact Report for the 2011-2012 academic year. Your reports are what allow us to see and share all the hard work of schools throughout the year, as shown below.
“My class has begun to see themselves as a part of a greater whole! Subjects and lessons take on greater meaning and relevance for them. When they write about things their schema is broadened and they are now thinking and relating to things globally. They have a focus and a funnel for their passion and enthusiasm. They often tell me “I never knew that!” and then they jump into action! I have seen children become strong leaders showing maturity, initiative, confidence, and compassion. They see they are not alone. They see they are fortunate. And they see they are responsible for making the change!” – Forestview Public School, District School Board of Niagara