By Jennifer Siviero
To create lasting change in the world, young people must be empowered, active, local and global agents of change.
This was Marc Kielburger’s message to students, staff, and faculty when he took the stage at the Algonquin Commons Theatre on Sept. 8.
“Charity starts at home, but it doesn’t end at home,” Kielburger, co-founder of Free the Children and author of Living Me to We, said as he illustrated the core insights of global citizenship and volunteerism.
He stressed the importance of leadership and encouraged the audience to share their values with others.
“There is power in individual leadership.” he said. “Be inspired by the values that you represent.”
He emphasized that social change is not measured in donations, but in lifestyle.
“You vote every single day,” said Kielburger. “Not with your ballot, but with your wallet…it’s about what you represent every single day, it’s in the companies you support.”
Kielburger urged the audience to help people help themselves by investing in community building and creating a culture of change.
“The greatest gift you can give someone, is the dignity to not need your help anymore,” said Kielburger while discussing the role of global volunteerism in contributing to the economic empowerment of those living in impoverished countries.
“It’s not about a hand out, it’s a hand up.”
Select students and staff, recognized by the college for their contribution to the global community through volunteerism, were invited to meet with Kielburger before the speech.
“We’re excited that the college is able to provide these opportunities for students to build their global citizenship skills,” said Sherry Poirier, nursing professor and member of the Breath of Life project development team.
“I never thought I would get the opportunity to meet someone like Marc,” said Romi Knight, TV broadcasting student, as she discussed her work as a residence advisor and spoke about the opportunities for student involvement on campus.
Following the speech, Kielburger signed copies of his book in the ACHub.
“It was humbling, there was nothing I didn’t like about it. Everyone would have benefited from it,” said Alexandria Dack, child and youth worker student.
Kielburger was brought to the Algonquin Commons Theatre in partnership with Algonquin College’s Student Support Services and Community Partnerships and Engagement Services.
“It all comes down to what you stand for,” said Kielburger. “Never doubt that you can change the world.”