We Day: “I am a world changer!”

Shelly Jones, 6th Grade LA/SS, MS Language Arts Chair

Shelly Jones, 6th Grade LA/SS, MS Language Arts Chair

“I am a world changer!” Last Friday, St. Francis Middle School and High School students repeated these words, learned a We Day dance, and were inspired to keep giving back to others as a part of We Day Kentucky, a celebration of service learning at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. The powerful thing about We Day, where students hear inspirational speakers and performers and participate in service as a portion of the event, is that tickets cannot be bought. They can only be earned through completing two service projects — one with a local impact and one with a global impact. The Downtown Campus We Act community service group attended the event after focusing

We Day Kentucky

We Day Kentucky

locally on hunger and globally on their ongoing efforts to fund the building of a school in Haiti. Goshen students in grades 4 through 8 completed a variety of service-learning projects, from bake sales to can drives to walk and read-a-thons to raise money for global and local organizations selected by each grade.

At We Day Kentucky, guest speakers and performers including Spencer West, Molly Burke, Mayor Greg Fischer, jazz pianist Harry Pickens, Kentucky cellist Ben Sollee, and local performing artists Southern Sirens celebrated the students’ success and inspired them to keep giving back to their communities. During a “working lunch” session, Goshen students shared their service-learning stories while creating “plarn,” or plastic yarn, out of grocery bags that would eventually be crocheted into sleeping mats for the homeless. High School students spent lunchtime at the Muhammad Ali Center in a facilitated discussion with peers, sharing stories of their activities this year and learning strategies for planning successful service-learning projects. All told, 1,300 students from over 100 schools in our region participated in We Day Kentucky, but St. Francis was the only school in the region to have the entire

We Day Kentucky

We Day Kentucky

Middle School student body engage in at least two service projects per grade! We are also (as far as we know) the only High School to incorporate service into the school day for the entire student body multiple times per year.

After the event, some Middle School students shared their thoughts:

“I was inspired by all the speakers to make a change. I think I could volunteer for organizations when I’m old enough to volunteer. The service would really help shape me as a person, and help me ‘become a warrior,’ as Spencer West quoted.”
Ayda Marshall, 5th grade

“Today I enjoyed at We Day all the electricity and energy that was in the building and all the performances and speakers. Especially Spencer West because he was motivational and he didn’t care what people thought of him because he had no legs … but he proved people wrong by doing things they said he couldn’t.”
Ian VonFeldt, 5th grade

“Craig Kielburger was the founder of Free the Children. He was really inspiring about how he got a group of kids (together) and started speaking out about child labor.”
Stevaun Butler, 5th grade

“We Day inspired me to raise money and give it to people in Africa and pick a family in Africa to give money to help out with maybe food or clothing, or go on a mission trip there to help. … Spencer West inspired me because when someone tells me I can’t do something and I really believe I can, then he told us we can do what we want. He climbed a mountain on his hands.”
Marley Diamond, 5th grade

“I thought it was really inspiring about Molly Burke. She took a bad situation [going blind and being bullied] and turned it into a positive situation and now is helping people around the world overcome obstacles that are thrown at them.”
Owen Carey, 6th grade

“Since we did a local service project and a global service project we got to go to We Day. I loved it so much. We went all day on Friday and learned many different things. They had speakers there. A couple of my favorites were Molly Burke and Spencer West. Molly talked about how she went totally blind in 8th grade. At this time she also had a broken leg. One day, these girls were assigned to take her to lunch, they told her they weren’t hungry, Molly had nothing else to do but to follow her. They led her into the woods, took her crutches and broke them and left. She was sitting in the woods by herself and couldn’t see or move.”
Audrey McClain, 6th grade

“We Day inspired me to make change in the world and make new friends and meet new people, especially Spencer West and Molly Burke.”
Teagan Morrison, 6th grade

“I thought it was really inspirational and it inspired me to want to volunteer and help people that are less fortunate. I thought that two of my favorites, Molly Burke and Spencer West, did a really good job of making a negative thing turn into a positive thing.”
Sophie Johnson, 6th grade

As we look forward to service-learning projects for the 2015-16 school year on the Goshen Campus, please contact Anne Farra, our Service Learning Coordinator, if you would like to help with the Service-Learning Fair in the fall or if you know of an organization that you would like to recommend for the Service-Learning Fair. The High School is planning its community service sites as well; if you know an organization (preferably downtown or nearby) that would like a group to come work six times per year, please contact Community Service Coordinator David Word.