Free The Children thanks Chilliwack

Chilliwack was one of the stops on the 10-week We Create Change Tour put on by Free The Children.

Spencer West talks to a group of students at Mt. Slesse middle school during the We Create Change tour on Monday.

Spencer West talks to a group of students at Mt. Slesse middle school during the We Create Change tour on Monday.

Chilliwack’s We Create Change Tour was mini in every aspect except passion.

That was giant.

Several Chilliwack students started this week with front row seats to the We Create Change Tour on Monday at Mt. Slesse middle school.

The multimedia event, put on by Free The Children, was essentially a mini We Day celebration to thank Chilliwack’s “We Schools” for their fundraising efforts throughout the year.

Mt. Slesse was one of 90 stops on the 10-week Canada-wide  tour.

Featuring performances by Canadian pop-rock band Neverest, and appearances by 11-year-old blogger and activist Hannah Alper, and double amputee Spencer West, the intimate affair was full of upbeat songs, giant selfies, motivational speeches, and inspirational slide shows.

One hour that few of the 600 watching would forget – all because they collectively joined forces this year to raise money for those most in need.

Dubbed Chilliwack’s “We Schools,” 13 schools spent the year collecting their pennies, and encouraging others to do the same, for Free The Children’s build a school campaign. The goal was to raise $10,000, which would build a school large enough for 55 students in Africa.

In total, 10,908 was raised.

Several students from Mt. Slesse also travelled to Kenya over spring break and physically helped build a school with Free The Children.

“I think what’s so cool here in Chilliwack is that they’re known as the ‘We Schools’ and that they collectively came together to raise over $10,000 to build this school,” said Spencer West, Free The Children inspirational speaker, following the show.

“It’s not very often we see an entire district come together like that and create change as a whole. I think that’s pretty powerful.”

Chilliwack’s We Schools began collaborating following last fall’s We Day in Vancouver where every school in the province was challenged to join Free The Children’s build a school campaign. For some schools in Chilliwack, though, the challenge of raising $10,000 solo was daunting. By collaborating with multiple schools, it meant the goal was attainable and that all schools that wanted to could be a part of the change.

They didn’t do it for recognition, but rather because it was the right thing to do.

“All of our We Schools have students who are passionate about making change at the local and global level,” said Mt. Slesse teacher Sandi Rae. “Today was all about their efforts.”

Their goal was achieved, but their work isn’t yet done.

One of the main purposes of the We Create Change tour was to recharge students to continue being the change.

West listed off staggering statistics: 57 million people are denied education every day; 123 million youth are illiterate; 76 million of those illiterate are girls.

While education is often taken for granted in North America, “there are so many kids, just like you guys, who want an opportunity to go to school, to learn to read and write,” but have multiple barriers standing in their way, said West.

No stranger to barriers, West had both legs amputated below the pelvis at five years old due to a genetic disease. He was told he’d never sit up, never walk, and probably not be a functioning member of society. But he proved doctors wrong then, and he continues to do so.

He’s become a renowned speaker for Free The Children; has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro; and walked 300 km with his hands from Edmonton to Calgary – all with the purpose of bettering the lives of those in need.

If he can do it, so can Chilliwack.

“This does not end today,” Spee, lead singer of Neverest, announced to the cheering crowd before him. “Change continues on through your actions.”

Chilliwack’s We Schools included A.D. Rundle middle, Central elementary, Cheam elementary, Chilliwack middle, Chilliwack secondary, Greendale elementary, G.W. Graham middle-secondary, Mt. Slesse middle, Promontory elementary, Rosedale traditional, Sardis secondary, Tyson elementary, and Vedder middle.

For more information on the tour, visit the website

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia’s (CFSEU-BC) Uniform Gang Enforcement Team (UGET) has arrested a man who was on the run for nearly a decade. (File photo)
9-year search for international drug trafficking suspect ends with arrest at YVR

Khamla Wong, charged in 2012, taken into custody Feb. 24 by BC-CFSEU

The Great Bear Snowshed on the Coquihalla Highway (Highway 5) in British Columbia. Truck driver Roy McCormack testified in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack on Feb. 25, 2021 that his brakes started smoking in about this location, and soon after he lost all braking, which led to a multi-vehicle crash further down the road on Aug. 5, 2016. (GoogleMaps)
Truck driver charged with criminal negligence in Coquihalla crash is accused of ignoring smoking brakes

Just before crashing the smoking truck was seen entering Zopkios brake check and leaving shortly after

Shaelene Keeler Bell. (Facebook)
Candlelight vigil Saturday for missing Chilliwack mother

Virtual event to ‘spread some light’ for 23-year-old Shaelene Bell of Chilliwack

Becky Miller, and her daughters Aurora, 5, and Alice, 2, getting the truck ready to help the St. Paul’s Dump Runners fundraiser Feb. 27, 28, March 1 and 2. (Becky Miller)
St. Paul’s Dump Runners of Chilliwack ready to pick up odds and ends for a cause

For a donation to the Nicaragua Feed the Children Fund volunteers haul stuff to the dump

(File Photo)
Crash causes delays on Coquihalla southbound, travel advisory issued

A vehicle incident between Merrit and Hope has caused major delays heading south

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten teacher and vice president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says educators are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of pressure that comes with it. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Stress leave, tears and insomnia: Island teachers feel the strain of COVID-19

Teachers still adjusting to mask and cleaning rules, pressures from outside and within

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Head of internal medicine at Chilliwack General Hospital Dr. Shari Sajjadi talks about the positive feedback hospital staff have received over this last year in the latest YouTube video about COVID-19 created in partnership with the Chilliwack Division of Family Practice and the Chilliwack Economic Recovery Network. (YouTube)
VIDEO: Dr. Shari Sajjadi says a simple ‘thank you’ helps keep up spirits of healthcare workers

‘We are so thankful for the positive feedback we are getting from our patients’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Most Read