As Martin Luther King III puts it, choosing to make a difference gives you the power to choose how you want to help your community: “…If you want to address issues about clean water, if you want to address issues about just clean air, any issue that you want to address. The sky is your limit!” On October 21st, the LEAD Team had the pleasure of going to Chicago to attend the kickoff event for We Day Illinois, an event aimed at empowering and encouraging young people to step up and create change in their communities. The organization behind this event, Free The Children, offers this event as a reward for students who commit to act on at least one global and one local initiative. Among the speakers at the event in Chicago was Martin Luther King III, son of MLK Jr.; Kweku Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela; Chicago Bears offensive tackle Michael Ola; motivational speaker Spencer West; and We Day co-founder Craig Kielburger. It also featured personal video messages from Nobel Prize-winning Malala Yousafzai and other inspirational figures.
The organization, founded in 1995, is the result of a twelve year-old Craig Kielburger gathering 11 of his school friends together to fight child labor abroad. He was able to travel to India and learn how child labor affected the children there (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afClM91uQFU). Through his work and the help of his brother Marc, an international organization devoted to charity, education, and the empowerment of youth exists today.
Dr. Hernandez, who worked directly with Marc and Craig to start the LEAD program over ten years ago, was ecstatic to have the team see the result of the idea of the power of one, an idea taught by both LEAD and Free the Children.