CHICAGO, March 1, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, 15,000 Illinois youth will descend on the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill. for WE Day, an international series of inspiring stadium-sized events that celebrate the power young people have to solve pressing social issues. The event brings together world-renowned speakers and performers, including host Shay Mitchell, along with Buzz Aldrin, Andra Day, Xzibit, Arne Duncan, Jordan Smith, Rhymefest, LaRoyce Hawkins, Monique Coleman, Dante Brown, Stedman Graham, Bailee Madison, Frank Waln, Grace VanderWaal, Celebrity Marauders, Spencer West and more.
- WE Day streams live today starting at 9 a.m. CST at we.org/watchweday -
- Photos available at www.weday.com/illinois-epk by 4 p.m. CST -
- WE Day Illinois is free to thousands of students thanks to partners led by Title Sponsor The Allstate Foundation -
WE Day Illinois, made possible by Title Sponsor The Allstate Foundation and partners, pairs its star-studded lineup with international activists and WE co-founders Craig and Marc Kielburger. Together, they will energize the crowd with unforgettable performances and motivational speeches to inspire youth to continue taking action on issues such as bullying, education and poverty.
WE Day is part of WE — a movement that brings people together and gives them the tools to change the world, achieving transformative outcomes for themselves and others. WE Day Illinois celebrates the remarkable volunteer efforts of students from the 525 schools in attendance—and the tens of thousands more watching the event streamed live on WE.org/watchweday. More than half of the attendees will come from Chicago Public Schools.
You can't buy a ticket to WE Day—students from across the country earn their way by the actions they take on one local and one global cause of their choice. WE Day is free of charge to students and teachers, thanks to the generous support of The Allstate Foundation. The Foundation believes good starts young, and is committed to empowering America's youth with the strength, confidence and leadership skills to step us as leaders and achieve success in their lives.
"The best message we—teachers, parents, mentors—can tell our kids is to believe, 'I can,'" said Tom Wilson, national WE Day co-chair and Allstate's chairman and CEO. "At Allstate, we believe good starts young and we believe in the power young people have to solve societal problems. That's what WE Day is all about: empowering youth to become positive change agents in their communities."
Making WE Day Illinois a true celebration of youth taking action, young people from Illinois will join the WE Day lineup to share their inspiring stories on stage. One such youth is 9-year-old Jahkil Jackson, founder of Project I Am, an organization that donates "Blessing Bags" filled with everyday essentials to homeless shelters in Chicago. To date, Jahkil has handed out more than 1,600 "Blessing Bags."
"I attended my first WE Day three years ago—my experience that day had such an impact that I promised that it wouldn't be my last time at WE Day," said Shay Mitchell, actress, entrepreneur, author and WE Day Illinois host. "Today marks my third WE Day and I am honored to take the stage as the WE Day host, and join thousands of young people on what will be an inspiring journey. It's such a beautiful experience, celebrating alongside so many inspiring young people who are all coming together to stand up for what they believe in—their dedication and passion leaves me feeling certain that we can and will change the world together."
Speakers and performers at WE Day Illinois will energize the crowd through a full day of powerful educational speeches, inspirational moments and empowering performances. A few must-see highlights include:
- Astronaut, Apollo XI & Gemini 12 Global Space Statesman, Buzz Aldrin sharing his story with the WE Day audience and discussing the power of space travel.
- Grammy nominated singer/songwriter, Andra Day, performing her hit song 'Rise Up' with Grammy award-winning youth choir, Soul Children of Chicago.
- Multiple Grammy + Oscar Award Winning Songwriter, Co-founder of Donda's House, Rhymefest performing for the 15,000 youth and educators in attendance.
More than a one-day event, WE Day is connected to the free, yearlong educational program WE Schools. Providing schools and community groups with curriculum, educational resources and action campaigns, this program is designed to enhance a school's existing social initiatives or spark new ones. WE Schools encourages students to further their curricular learning and develop life skills for success beyond the classroom. Young people making an impact locally and globally are supported with curricular resources, service campaigns and mentorship programs to help them to become change-makers.
"Every year, more than 200,000 students from over 10,000 schools around the globe earn their tickets to WE Day through the yearlong WE Schools program, creating positive impacts in their communities," said Craig Kielburger, co-founder of WE. "WE Day Illinois will unite and celebrate thousands of young leaders who are working passionately for the causes they care about most, creating sustainable change in their own backyards and around the world."
In the 2015/2016 school year, more than 650 schools and groups across the state improved their communities through WE Schools, volunteered more than 385,000 hours and raised over $500,000 in support of 300 local and global causes such as hunger, homelessness, bullying, youth advocacy, education and literacy. The student council members at Chicago's Ebinger Elementary, for example, collected food, personal hygiene items, baby supplies, winter clothing and more than 400 toys during their month-long series of service activities called "Four Weeks of Hope," which supported a neighborhood food pantry.
WE Day provides youth with a platform to learn about some of today's most pressing issues while celebrating their generation's shift toward acting with intention, leading with compassion and believing in the power of community. More than half of attendees come from Chicago Public Schools and nearly 70 per cent of youth come from low-income areas, all making remarkable social change in their communities. WE Day will celebrate the local organizations youth support and elevate causes they care about.
During the 2015-2016 school year, 85 per cent of Illinois educators participating in WE Schools felt they were better equipped to teach about social justice issues through service-based learning opportunities for their students; 83 per cent of educators said their students felt a greater connection to their local communities; and 79 percent of educators said the program engaged previously disengaged youth.
WE Day is supported in Illinois by Co-Chairs Tom Wilson, Allstate's chairman and CEO; Alex Gourlay, president, Walgreens; and Arne Duncan, former U.S. Secretary of Education and former CPS CEO.
Visit WE.org to take the WE Pledge, a commitment to living WE by making a difference every day.
About WE Day
WE Day is part of WE—an organization that brings people together and gives them the tools to change the world. A unique family of organizations, WE is made up of WE Charity, empowering change with resources that create sustainable impact, and ME to WE, a social enterprise that creates socially conscious products and experiences that allow people to do good through their everyday choices. The celebration of that change happens at WE Day—inspiring stadium-sized life-changing events that take place around the world. You can't buy a ticket to WE Day—young people earn their entry by taking action on one local and one global cause. WE Day unites world-renowned speakers, presenters and award-winning performers with thousands of young people and families to celebrate and inspire another year of incredible change. This year alone over 200,000 young people will come together in 16 stadium gatherings across the U.S., Canada, and U.K. to take part in this unprecedented educational initiative.
A global movement of 2.4 million young people strong, youth involved with WE have raised $62 million for more than 2,400 local and global organizations, volunteered 19.9 million hours for local and global causes and collected over 7.6 million pounds of food through service learning programs and campaigns. WE was founded more than 20 years ago by humanitarians, activists and social entrepreneurs, brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger. Learn more at WE.org.
About The Allstate Foundation
For more information on WE Day or to request an interview, please contact:
Associate Director, Public Relations, WE Day
Manager, Public Relations, WE Day
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SOURCE WE Day