Sixteen-thousand students crammed into the MTS Centre in downtown Winnipeg Wednesday, to get inspired to make a difference.
The event was founded by brother Craig and Marc Kielburger, and is part of their family of organizations, including Free The Children and Me to We. The goal is to empower young people to shift their thinking and actions from "me" to "we."
Katie Duff, a grade 12 student at Oak Park High School, is attending for the third time.
"My first We Day changed my life. My entire career path has changed," she said.
Duff is so inspired by the event that she is planning on attending the University of Winnipeg to study human rights. She spent 11 days in Kenya earlier this year, helping to build and all-girls high school.
"It's not that just it gives you a buzz to make change. It's a long-lasting buzz. It's a year-long buzz until the next We Day," she said.
As an ambassador, Duff had the opportunity to meet some of the special guest speakers attending today's event, including Emmy-winning actor and activist Martin Sheen, human rights advocate Martin Luther King III, and inspirational speaker Spencer West, a double amputee who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro on his hands in June 2012.
Duff's advice to first-time We Day'ers: write things down that you hear about and consider the simple changes you can make in your day to day life.
"The smallest acts can make a difference," she said.
Kaya Cameron will be attending for the first time.
"I really want to go to We Day because I really want to help other people around me, and maybe around the world," she said.
A grade eight student at Julie Riel School, Cameron said she's looking forward to seeing Spencer West, whose Mt. Kilimanjaro climb moved her.
"It makes me feel like 'Wow, that's like a lot of courage."
Students attending earned their admission to the event through a year-long program called "We Act", in which they take part in one local and one global action.
Students inspired to take action
Annabel Hutchison, who goes to Van Wallegham School, said the atmosphere at the MTS Centre was overwhelming.
"At first it's kind of loud and it's shocking," she said. "But then when you hear it and hear all the stories then you get like, ahh, this will really help the world."
Hutchison and other students got the day off school to attend the inspirational event because of a Halloween initiative they're working on.
Yejin Cha said it's about scaring hunger away.
"When we're going trick or treating, instead of getting a candy, we're getting non-perishable food and send(ing) it to Winnipeg Harvest."
The son of legendary American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. took the stage: Martin Luther King III is King's eldest son, and an activist in his own right.
"We are going to be a great generation," he said.
Hollywood actor turned activist Martin Sheen also added star power.
"While acting is what I do for a living, activism is what I do to stay alive," he said.
The Kielburger brothers are encouraging young people across North America this year to help build 200 schools in less developed parts of the world.
It's a message Daria Khalei welcomed.
"Try and think of the things and work on the things that need to be changed, like world poverty and child slavery."