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From Demi Lovato to Martin Luther King III, Celebrities Inspire Thousands of Local Youth to Make A Difference at Free The Children's We Day Minnesota

18,000 students and teachers gather together at first-ever We Day Minnesota, committing to take one local and global service action

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SAINT PAUL, Minn., Oct. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- WE DAY -  Today, 18,000 students and teachers in Minnesota will join the hundreds of thousands of youth across North America who have experienced We Day, the youth empowerment and education event hosted by international charity and educational partner Free The Children. These students are gathering at Minnesota's first-ever We Day to kick off their year-long We Act service learning and action programs with inspiring words and special performances from Mia Farrow, Barbara Pierce Bush, Jonas Brothers, Carly Rae Jepsen, and more.

We Day is made possible in Minnesota by title sponsors Cheerios, Green Giant and Yoplait, along with other supporters, including Bremer Bank, the Otto Bremer Foundation, The Edward J. Phillips Family Foundation and the Carlson Family Foundation. We Day Minnesota is the second We Day event held in the U.S., the first hosted in Seattle in March 2013.

At We Day Minnesota, held at the Xcel Energy Center, Free The Children co-founders Craig and Marc Kielburger announced a number of ways youth across the nation can make a difference, including the charity's annual We Scare Hunger campaign whereby on Halloween youth are encouraged to trick-or-treat for non-perishable food items to support local food banks. They also announced Free The Children's Year of Education initiative, a year-long fundraising commitment to build 200 schools in Free The Children communities overseas. 

"I am so excited to be here in Minnesota with all these incredible students, and their teachers, who are passionate and ready to start making positive change," said Craig Kielburger, co-founder of Free The Children. "By being here today, they are making a commitment to We Act, our year-long service program, where one day of inspiration turns into a year of local and global action. Together, we have the power to change the world, and I can't wait to see what the young people of Minnesota and others across the U.S. do next."

Young People Becoming Hunger Heroes on Halloween
At We Day, young people learned they can make a difference in their communities this Halloween by trick-or-treating for non-perishable food items instead of, or in addition to, candy in support of Free The Children's We Scare Hunger, made possible by the General Mills Foundation in the United States. An annual campaign since 2000, We Scare Hunger mobilizes youth across the nation around local hunger issues.

"More than one in five children in the U.S. faces hunger," said Ellen Goldberg Luger, Executive Director, General Mills Foundation. "Fighting hunger and supporting your local community can be as simple as donating a can of soup, a box of cereal, or other non-perishable food items to the We Scare Hunger food drive. Working together, we can all nourish lives in our communities."

Young people across the nation can learn more and sign-up for We Scare Hunger, at www.freethechildren.com/wescarehunger and tweet the organization at @freethechildren hashtag #wescarehunger.

Creating Real Change with Pocket Change
In support of the Year of Education, Free The Children launched We Create Change, made possible by Bremer Bank in Minnesota, calling on young people to participate in a 'quarters' drive. We Create Change-branded coin boxes, designed as schoolhouses, are being made available to students and schools across Minnesota. By collecting quarters in special Free The Children/Bremer Bank cardboard school houses, and dropping them off at any Bremer Bank location across Minnesota, students can support the construction of a new Free The Children school in an overseas community. $20 in coins buys a brick — the cornerstone of a new school that will transform the lives of hundreds of children. Bremer Bank branches across Minnesota will be accepting school houses filled with quarters, or any denomination of coin, from November 1November 30, 2013, and once again in May, 2014 (exact dates to be confirmed).

"Building community, whether here at home or overseas, means creating opportunities for people to take action," said Patrick Donovan, President and CEO, Bremer Financial Corporation. "Through We Create Change, Free The Children and Bremer Bank are making it easy for students in Minnesota to take a small action like collecting quarters and make a big difference for students in communities around the world."

To learn more or sign-up, visit www.freethechildren.com/wecreatechange

Me to We Artisans ABC Education Rafiki Friend Chain
Individuals can also support Free The Children's Year of Education by purchasing an ABC Education Rafiki Friend Chain. Each $10 chain, handmade by Me to We Artisans in Kenya, equips a child overseas with school supplies for one year. Each purchase also empowers a Maasai mama who earns a fair wage to send her children to school, and helps consumers make socially conscious fashion statements.

For more information, visit www.metowe.com/abc. The ABC Education Rafiki can be purchased at select Nordstrom locations across the country or online at www.nordstrom.com, along with a wide variety of other Me to We Artisans products.

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 includes We Day, Free The Children's signature youth empowerment event—educate, engage and empower 1.7 million young people across North America, the UK and around the world to become engaged global citizens. Its international projects have brought more than 650 schools and school rooms to youth and provided clean water and sanitation, health care and food security to one 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

About the General Mills Foundation
The mission of the General Mills Foundation is to nourish communities.  Continuing its tradition of generous giving and global community support, General Mills contributed more than $150 million to charitable causes in fiscal year 2013.  General Mills invests in and collaborates with community organizations and programs that focus on alleviating hunger and advancing nutrition wellness.  In addition, 83 percent of U.S. employees volunteer.  To learn more about the ways General Mills nourishes lives through philanthropy and community engagement, please join us on Facebook at Facebook.com/GeneralMillsGives or visit us at GeneralMills.com/en/Responsibility/Community_Engagement.

Bremer Financial Corporation
Bremer Financial Corporation is a privately held, $8.2 billion regional financial services company owned by its employees and the Otto Bremer Foundation (OBF). Founded in 1943 by Otto Bremer, the company is headquartered in St. Paul, Minnesota and provides a comprehensive range of banking, investment, trust and insurance services to its locations in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. OBF uses its share of dividends to distribute charitable grants to Bremer Bank communities. In 2012, more than $36 million in charitable donations were given across the Bremer footprint and employees donated more than 100,000 volunteer hours to their communities. For more information, go to bremer.com.

For additional information, please contact:
Julia Thomas, PR Manager
Free The Children
julia.thomas@freethechildren.com 
T: (416) 738-8702

SOURCE Free The Children



RELATED LINKS
http://www.freethechildren.com
http://www.nordstrom.com
http://www.bremer.com
http://www.metowe.com

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