One morning in 1995, twelve-year-old Craig Keilburger embarked on a journey that would forever change his life. Searching for the comics section in the newspaper, he was drawn to a bold headline. It read: “Battled child labour, boy, 12, murdered.”
Shocked by this tragedy, Craig was moved to action. This was the beginning of Free The Children, an organization fueled by the efforts and enthusiasm of children Craaig’s own age. From its modest beginning as a group of classmates, Free The Children would become the largest network of children helping children in the world.
-excerpt from “Free the Children” by Craig Keilburger
On February 27th, 2013, I, along with my high school’s Student Government attended Saskatchewan’s very first We Day. We Day guests are chosen to attend as an acknowledgement of their efforts with Free The Children. It was very much a life-changing experience and one I was proud to be able to attend with my fellow classmates. It was a celebration of what Free The Children has done and a boost of inspiration for everything Free The Children has the power to continue to do. Performances by Hedley, Sean Desman, and local talents were intertwined with speeches from children who had seen first hand the changes Free The Children is making in the world.
Each guest received a copy of Craig Keilburger’s novel “Free The Children.” The story is unforgettable. Craig, at just 12 years old travelled to Bangladesh, Thailand, India, Nepal and Pakistan with a trusted mentor and witnessed the overwhelming truths of child labour, poverty, and prostitution was so prominent throughout the streets of these countries. Keilburger was transformed from a middle-class, grade seven student into one of the world’s leading defenders of children’s rights.
The most powerful message conveyed through Free The Children is the idea of children helping children. As a delegate for the Miss Teen Canada- World 2013 pageant I am required to fundraise a minimum of $400 to support Free The Children’s efforts in a six-week span. Last year, the Miss Teen Canada- World delegates raised over $50 000!! Since reading Keilburger’s book and understanding just how vital the work Free the Children does for Children’s Rights in our world is, I am ecstatic to be surrounded by such a strong supporting school and Pageant.
I kicked off my fundraising on April 14th with a Pampered Chef Party,
and raised $200. April 18th was We Day’s birthday, and I took part in the Vow to Silence; I was silent throughout my school day to bring awareness to the children around the world who have no voice. I have deposited two penny bags to the Royal Bank through the “We Create Change” campaign to grant clean water for life to someone in need. Last week I put together a bake sale at my school and received generous support from so many great people, raising another hundred dollars. Tonight my mom and I set out on a bottle drive, collecting loads of bottles that filled our shed to the roof! On May 22nd we are hosting a Rib n’ Caesar night at Humpty’s with all of the proceeds going towards my Free The Children Fundraising efforts. On May 24th, students of A.E.Peacock Collegiate will be participating in our annual 30 Hour Famine. The task is to stay overnight at the school and collect pledges supporting them through their mission to not eat for the full 30 hours! Unfortunately I will be in Saskatoon, but I encourage all of you Peacockians to be the change and join the Famine. My official pageant fundraising will end on May 26th, but I know I will continue to be a supporter of Free The Children’s movements. The delegate who raises the most for Free The Children is rewarded with a fast-track into the top 20 as well as a ‘Me to We Trip’ to one of the Free The Children Locations.
Free The Children has changed the lives of more than one million young people world-wide. It has built more than 650 schools, providing daily education to over 55 000 children. For it’s proven track record of success, Free The Children has received numerous awards. It all began in the classroom of a grade seven student. Nothing is impossible. Stop saying tomorrow, and start today. You are not too young, too old, or too busy, go make your dreams come true!
Lots of Love