#youthesoo – Over 5,000 youth converge at Essar Centre

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Young people from across the Algoma District School Board and the Huron Superior Catholic District School Board filled the Essar Centre with enough energy to light Queen Street for several days.

In collaboration with the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board, the Algoma District School Board and the Algoma Arts Festival Association, children and youth from across the Algoma District gathered  on May 11, 2017 to take part in #youthesoo – Sault Ste. Marie’s second ‘WE DAY’-style youth empowerment event.

School buses arrived from Elliot Lake, Chapleau, Blind River, Wawa and all points from within the two school boards.

“Once again, we are delighted to have our students participate in #youthesoo.  This experience is a tremendous opportunity for our students to increase their awareness of social justice issues and to contribute their Catholic leadership skills in addressing them in their families and communities,” said John Stadnyk, Director of Education for the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board.

“We are very excited to provide the opportunity for our students to engage in another #youthesoo event, to showcase their leadership, engagement and good citizenship.   Since the last event, our students have continued to put their motivation and leadership to work, engaging in many different projects within their schools and communities to impact social change.  Once again, the #youthesoo event will see our students share the stage with top performers as they have their projects and their voices validated.  Motivating our youth to be contributing citizens both locally and globally supports our mission to develop and graduate ‘Confident Learners, Caring Citizens’.” stated  Lucia Reece, Director of Education, ADSB.

With celebrity TV personality Jessi Cruickshank as host, several  motivational performances and speakers took to the stage to share stories, music and spoken word offerings.

Craig Kielburger, acclaimed speaker, social entrepreneur, New York Times best-selling author, and co-founder of the ‘WE’ Movement energized the young people.  Motivational speaker Spencer West, and spoken word poet Mustafa Ahmed who is a member of the Prime Minister’s Youth Council took to the stage.

Local youth, including White Pines student Ben MacDonald, shared a spoken word performance.

RBC’s (Royal Bank Canada) ‘Make 150 Count’ project was featured when four local young people were selected to receive $150.00. The monetary gift from RBC in conjunction with Canada 150, is a project to encourage youth to make a difference in their community. Youth are asked to use the $150.00 for ‘good works’– no strings attached.

Canadian pop music sensation Tyler Shaw performed to the super-charged crowd, offering – among other songs – ‘Burnin’ Up’, a soon-to-be-released single from an upcoming album. Shaw was joined by young people from the Algoma Conservatory of Music youth ensemble for one of his songs.

#YoutheSoo closed with Craig Kielberger reminding the youth to ‘Join the Movement’ for good and to be positive change-makers in their schools and communities.