Speaker Series: Craig Kielburger

Free The Children Founder’s Visit Continues to Build on Long Partnership

Q: How do you captivate a group of teenagers in a formal assembly, during this era of technology and videography? A: You bring in guest speaker Craig Kielburger!

Craig Kielburger, founder of Free the Children and Me to We spoke last week to a captivated assembly of Grade 8-12 students and guests. He previously presented to our students 14 years ago as one of the first in our Speaker Series, and returned with the same passion that had this audience engaged and alert. You could hear a pin drop!

I have watched and participated during those 14 years as Mentor College and TEAM School have grown into schools of compassion, social activism, and engagement. Our Take Action Group (TAG) and Leaders for Change clubs have allowed students to develop leadership skills while raising funds for projects locally and internationally. My fondest international school-building excursions with our TAG students have been to Ecuador, Kenya and India. On these service trips we physically made bricks, dug trenches and constructed schools while the elated pupils hovered in anticipation of their new classrooms. Our students have made a difference to break the cycle of poverty in these rural communities. We again travel to Rajasthan, India in March, 2019. I have always said that any Mentor student will forget what they learned in a unit of grade ten history in 25 years, but they’ll never forget the experience of the impact they made on a Me to We trip! And they learn to appreciate what they have and not take things for granted. Those concepts are not found in any textbook!

Mentor College and TEAM School are wholly involved in all facets of Me to We. Craig Kielburger and his brother Marc are very aware of this. As Craig so passionately stated in his speech last Thursday, “this is an extraordinary school because of its commitment to social justice, to student leadership, to empowering the students here……and you are taking those opportunities to create an amazing impact both here in Canada on some incredibly important causes….but also around the world on causes like clean water, health care, empowering kids to escape to cycle of poverty and have the chance to receive an education that we so often take for granted back here at home”. What Craig orated resonates within our school community and embodies our core values.

We are very privileged to have these guest speakers such as Craig Kielburger to Mentor and TEAM. An earlier speaker here, Stephen Lewis, spoke akin to Craig about taking action to aid impoverished nations through education. He asked, “What does a child in a developing country want more than anything in the world? A cell phone? Video games? A soccer ball?”. “No”, he replied. “That child wants to go to school. It’s where a child belongs. To play, to learn and to have opportunity”.

So Craig Kielburger reinforced these ideals of activism and volunteerism we have heard about in a variety of contexts. We are so pleased to support We Villages and marvel at the experiential learning that occurs with our student participants here and on service trips abroad. So, thank you, Craig, for your words 14 years ago! As I said to him before he took the stage last week, “look what you have started”! He smiled. I smiled. We are doing great things.





David Whyte
Principal, High School Division

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