We Day starting its celebration with amazing performances and heartfelt speeches this afternoon. The annual event, which is a celebration of social good, returned to the Fabulous Forum in California with over 16,000 students and educators, all of whom have been committed to making a difference in their communities, both locally and worldwide. A gathering of students, celebrities, performers, social workers, and fans, all came together for a day of inspiration and excitement. Neil Patrick Harris hosted this year’s event, which also included Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Mahershala Ali, Naomi Campbell, Chance The Rapper, Nina Dobrev, Selena Gomez, Joe Jonas, Bill Nye, Natalie Portman, Hailee Steinfeld, Pentatonix, Meghan Trainor and more.

Joined by WE co-founders Craig Kielburger and Marc Kielburger line-up celebrated their collective passion for doing good, motivating young people to continue to take action on pressing issues to affect positive change at home in the U.S. and around the world. At a time when young people seem to be constantly bombarded with bad news, the event continues to uplift hearts, raise awareness for social groups, and congratulate the students and educators that still push back against the negativity to make a difference.

If you’re new to the event, WE Day is a free sponsored event for students and educators across the United States. The national co-title sponsor The Allstate Foundation and co-title sponsor Unilever, help make the event happen and bring all of these students and educators together.

“My first experience at WE Day has been remarkable. The Forum was transformed into an awe-inspiring celebration of the incredible young people who are taking it upon themselves to truly make the world a better place,” said award-winning actor and producer, Neil Patrick Harris. “It is so important for this generation of young people to know that we not only support their tremendous efforts, but that they are motivating us to work alongside them to make an even bigger impact together.”

“I had such an amazing morning at my first WE Day!!! It’s so obvious that the students from across California have committed so much of their time and energy into making the world a better place,” said Academy Award nominated actress and multi platinum recording artist, Hailee Steinfeld. “It’s truly inspiring to see this amazing group of young people join together to celebrate doing good and making a change.”

Academy award-winning actress, Natalie Portman took the stage to address her involvement with TIME’S UP and the importance of putting an end to harassment and inequality.

“Tonight, we’re working together to make an impact, but what exactly does that mean? For me, it means finding the courage inside yourself, to call out injustice wherever you see it and practice empathy throughout your day, everyday. I want to make an impact by helping empower women and girls. Yes many of you are doing the same. It’s why I traveled to Kenya to support girls’ education with WE and it’s why I advocate for women’s rights in the workplace with Time’s Up. Because when you invest in women and girls, it transforms communities.”

Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, Meghan Trainor performs fan favorites Treat Myself and No excuses. On the same stage, Co-creator of awareness campaign ‘Come Say Hi to Eli’ and EB Advocate, Eli Meyer shares his story of perseverance with the students at WE Day and is joined by Jill Vedder for a special surprise video from Eddie Vedder. Eddie and Jill Vedder are two of the founders of the EB Research Partnership – the largest nonprofit dedicated to funding research aimed at treating and ultimately curing Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB).

We Day is far more than just a one-day event, We Day is connected to the free, yearlong program called WE Schools.

Designed to enhance a school or community’s existing social initiatives (or spark new ones), WE Schools provides participants with curriculum, educational resources, and action campaigns, encouraging students to further their curricular learning and develop life skills to succeed beyond the classroom.

According to the company, in the 2017/2018 school year, over 1260 schools and school groups across California improved the world through WE Schools, volunteering over 1.4 million hours and raising more than $1,000,000 in support of over 660 global and local causes including bringing awareness to homelessness, food security, LGBTQ2+ rights, access to education, access to clean water in oversees communities and environmental issues.

“I’m thrilled to be at WE Day California to recognize and celebrate the work of the thousands of incredible young leaders here today. Each student and educator have challenged themselves to give back in remarkable ways and make a real difference in their local and global communities,” said Craig Kielburger, co-founder of WE. “We’re honored to provide educators with the tools to build the confidence, self-esteem and leadership skills of young people and to encourage the next generation of engaged citizens. From tackling the stigma surrounding mental health, to fundraising to improve access to clean water and eliminating local homelessness, today’s young change-makers are more fearless than ever when it comes to taking action on timely issues. Their unwavering commitment to doing good never ceases to inspire me and all of us here today to support them.”

Of course, not everyone can head to California to show their support, but you can watch highlights of the event in the one-hour national televised special airing August 9th on ABC. The WE Day Special is sponsored by The Allstate Foundation, Unilever, and by Presenting Partners Walgreens and Microsoft.

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