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Schools pitch in
Jennifer Day is a teacher and We Act coordinator for St. Cloud Tech High School, one of the earliest to get on the bandwagon. She said a student had heard Kielburger speak at a conference and was so inspired that she got some friends involved. Soon, St. Cloud Tech became a “We School.” Students now participate in “We Scare Hunger” — Halloween trick-or-treating for food-shelf contributions — and the “We Are Silent” project, an awareness campaign for human rights abuses. Students also do other volunteer work and fundraising.
“So often kids are told that everything you do in school is to prepare you for the future,” Day said. “Free the Children tells them they can make change right now.”
Kielburger and his brother Marc founded Free the Children, the We Day sponsor, a decade ago, to help children in developing countries overcome poverty.
Jim Lee, business teacher and head volleyball coach at Waconia High School, heard about Free the Children and We Day last year. He decided to check out one of the celebrations in Canada, and was amazed, he said. Educators from other U.S. schools were also having a look, he said.
That’s likely to happen in Minnesota, said Stillman, adding, “We will be used as a model for other states to come.”
Jean Hopfensperger • 612 673-4511