Thousands of students are gathering in St. Paul Wednesday at what's been called the "Super Bowl for doing good," to celebrate the way they're changing their communities and the world.
Instead of spending the day in school, about 18,000 students will attend a concert and pep rally with celebrity speakers at the Xcel Energy Center, a program known as We Day Minnesota. It's meant to inspire middle school and high school students to create change in their communities and make the world a better place.
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Students can't buy a ticket for We Day – they earn it through service. Schools and groups take on one local and one global action through the We Act program to earn their way to We Day, according to the program's website. We Day and the We Act program are organized by Canada-based nonprofit Free the Children.
“One of the reasons we brought We Day to Minnesota is because of its long history with philanthropy,” director of Free The Children-USA and Minnesota native David Stillman told the Star Tribune. “It’s built into the culture. Minnesotans are a giving people.”
We Day co-founder Marc Kielburger told WCCO that over the last year, Minnesota students have supported 387,000 local and international causes and collected thousands of pounds of food for We Scare Hunger during Halloween.
The Pioneer Press notes students at 550 Minnesota schools volunteered 167,861 hours over the past year and raised more than $375,000 through the program.
"I think it's important to emphasize it's the students' choice about what to support," Stillman told the newspaper. "We want kids to find something they're passionate about and take action on whatever it is."
Here are some tweets from this year's We Day:
Last year’s inaugural We Day Minnesota – one of two We Day events held in the United States – drew an estimated 18,000 attendees, and participants included actress Mia Farrow, and singers Demi Lovato, Carly Rae Jepsen and the Jonas Brothers.
We Day started in Canada in 2007 and is now celebrated in 13 other U.S. cities and the United Kingdom annually, according to the organization.