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Seeding the Change

June, 2014
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Can we change the world? In today’s society, we are told the importance of doing our part. However, this is far easier said than done.

me_to_we-0054An international organization called Me to We serves to change this mindset. Fostering leaders at a young age, this social entrepreneurship strives to work towards a brighter future for the world through one youth at a time. Marc Kielburger’s altruistic career began as a preteen. He and his brother Craig Kielburger began Free the Children, a worldwide charity organization that not only donates to the poverty-stricken, but also seeks to educate and empower struggling families across the globe. Free the Children helps people help themselves, thus emancipating communities around the world from the cycle of poverty. This mission is also applied to their leadership program. By educating and engaging youth across the globe, today’s leaders are patronized to begin their own independent movements, combatting world issues through the leadership skill sets that Me to Weand Free the Children provide.

Both inspirational and heartening, Marc’s story was the keynote feature for Concordia International School Shanghai’s ‘Mini We Day’ on 29 April. Students from throughout Shanghai came to listen to Kielburger and other social pioneers share their personal journeys towards building a better world. Despite the variety of their successes, however, the paths of their stories were far more similar than expected. Although unique to each individual, there were several continuities in their presentations that became prevalent as universal keys to success: accumulation of knowledge, service, experience, and, most importantly, faith and persistence. However, the ultimate message Mini We Day imparted was simple, yet deceivingly difficult to carry out. There is no universal equation for a leader apart from simply believing in yourself and that you can make a difference.

me_to_we-0060As an attending student, these stories were highly encouraging to me – to witness not only the success they achieved as adults today, but more importantly the growth of young dreamers such as 12-year-old Craig Kielburger. “We started this small. We started selling soda pop for fifty American cents. But now we’ve gone from a group of twelve 12-year-olds from one school to four million kids engaged in North America and 7,000 schools that have the program,” says Kielburger. Two very young and very scrawny Middle School students were capable of not only refusing to be intimidated, but also refusing to achieve anything less than tangible, real change. The Kielburgers achieved the impossible through believing in the impossible – thus I am able to achieve my impossible as well.

Although conquering the impossible may seem intimidating at first, Marc Kielburger again provides a simple way to begin our own journeys through the equation GIFT+ ISSUE = CHANGE. By using personal strengths and gifts and applying them to a matter of personal concern, this allows us to facilitate social change in an individualistic manner. For example, I’m very good at connecting with younger kids. I enjoy not only playing and interacting with them, but also taking care of them. I don’t cringe from tasks others often find mundane, such as changing diapers, feeding and cleaning. One issue I’m particularly passionate about is the condition and life quality of orphans throughout China. My ability to interact with children combines very well with my desire to help the less fortunate, and thus I choose to involve myself in weekend trips to orphanages around Shanghai and tending to special needs kids in welfare centers as my way to serve the community. My contribution seems relatively small in the face of an increasingly problematic world. However, when I see the smile on the face of the child I’m playing with, I am inexplicably reassured that the tiny part I may play in the moment is irrefutably significant – perhaps not necessarily for the kid, but undeniably in my own journey towards changing the world.

So,how can we change the world? First, change your mindset. Instead of asking the question, seek the answer.

 

By Angela Cheng,

Concordia International School Shanghai

 

 

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