We Create Change Tour stops in West Kelowna
A motivational speaker, a popular Canadian music group and an 11-year-old activist thanked 1,000 local students for their actions, which have helped youth in developing communities access education.
The We Create Change Tour stopped at Mount Boucherie Senior Secondary Friday as part of its 10-week, 90-stop cross-Canada tour.
Along with recognizing the students' accomplishments, Free The Children ambassador Spencer West encouraged youth in attendance to continue raising money so more schools can continue to be built around the world.
"There are still 57,000,000 kids who are denied access to education," said West.
"Through my work with Free The Children, I've seen how education can literally break the cycle of poverty overseas."
West said he first experienced poverty during a trip to Kenya six years ago.
As he helped build a school with Free The Children during that trip, West said he recognized the difference education was making for entire communities.
"Not only were kids going to school, but then they were taking what they learned back to their parents."
That experience also led West to use his own story as motivation for others in North America—to show them anyone can make a difference.
At the age of five, West lost both of his legs and was told he would never be a functioning member of society.
But, he said, that's a statement he refused to believe.
West reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in 2012, raising more than $500,000 to bring sustainable water projects to communities affected by drought. He completed a 300 km walk from Edmonton to Calgary on his hands and in his wheelchair last year to raise money for Free The Children's water initiative.
Canadian musicians Neverest performed and 11-year-old activist Hannah Alper spoke to the students at MBSS Friday.
Students at Mount Boucherie were congratulated for reaching their fundraising goal of $10,000. Other local schools were also thanked for various fundraising initiatives.
"I'm just really proud of what we've done.
"I hope the students walk away feeling honoured and excited to continue to change the world."
The We Create Change Tour will move to the Lower Mainland next week before wrapping up in Toronto June 17.