Canadian Online Youth Chat

You’re Never Too Young

A lie we often tell ourselves is that we are too young to make a difference in the world.

At 25 years old, you might expect that I have grown out of the lie, but I still catch myself believing it.

The lie allows us to abdicate our responsibility. We shrug off making a difference, because we are “powerless” to do anything; We “have no influence” on the course of human history. Believing the lie allows us to stand idle, waiting for someone else to put in motion the solutions to the world’s problems.

Unfortunately, it’s not true. No one is too young to make a difference.

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In December, I had the privilege of meeting the students of Carseland School, and encouraging them as they fund-raised in support of World Vision’s Gift Catalogue. As I stood in the school gym, waiting for the students to come in, I started talking with Mrs. Wade, the teacher that invited me to the school. She told me the origin of the fundraiser and how it all started with her young son, Oliver.

The previous year, Mrs. Wade and Oliver were sitting at a table in their local coffee shop, when Oliver noticed a World Vision gift catalogue sitting on their table. As Oliver flipped through the glossy pages and looked at the pictures of chickens, goats, and cows that could go towards helping people around the world, he was filled with a desire to make a difference. Mrs. Wade told me, “He knew bottles made money, so he started a bottle drive, encouraging all of his friends to help with the project.” That year, Oliver was able to raise enough money to reach his goal of purchasing a goat and a chicken for a family affected by extreme poverty.

This year, Mrs. Wade returned to work at Carseland School. Hoping to teach her students to be global citizens, she remembered Oliver’s successful Gift Catalogue campaign, and decided to hold a fundraiser for her students. So far this year, their Change for Change project has raised over 400$. Oliver held another bottle drive and was able to contribute 140$.

No one told Oliver he was too young to make a difference. The students at Carseland School didn’t believe the lie that they were too young to affect change. As a result, families around the world will benefit from their generous gifts through the World Vision Gift Catalogue.

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I want to tell you one more story. 45 years ago, in 1971, a 17-year-old named Ruth Roberts in Calgary was overcome with compassion for African children suffering from famine. Along with a group of 14 friends, Ruth Roberts organized a “starve-in” in the basement of their church to raise money and bring awareness to the famine. The group raised 600$ towards famine relief.

In the following years, the “starve-in” became an annual, international fundraiser known as the 30 Hour Famine. Every year, young people in 15 different countries who have rejected the lie that they can’t make a difference forego food to empathize and support those around the world that lack food security.

You are never to young too young to make an impact in the world. Stop waiting for someone to tell you it’s your turn to make a difference. The time is now to help.

ON TOUR FOR A HUNGERFREE WORLD

Sean and Karli Quigley believe in music of hope, so it just made sense to partner with HungerFree. The duo, which hails from Winnepeg, Manitoba in Canada, fronts band Bold As Lions. And this February they’re going on a HungerFree tour.

HungerFree sat down with Sean and Karli to learn more.

HungerFree: Why are you dedicating your tour to HungerFree?

Bold As Lions: We believe in this. From the beginning we’ve always said that we want to make music that means something. When we’re in the studio, writing, every single word is thought out and has an important purpose in the song. What good is having a platform if you don’t use it for something productive, if you don’t use it to better someone else’s reality? That is why we’re donating our time and dedicating this tour to HungerFree. This is something we stand for as a band. When people think Bold As Lions we want them to think HungerFree. We want people to know that its cool to care. And here’s a great place to start.

HF: How did you first get connected with World Vision?

BAL: When the Little Drummer boy music video came out, it gained attention over night. One day I [Sean] was driving down Broadway in Winnipeg and I got a phone call from someone asking me if I wanted to travel across the world to play music…all of this before he even told me who he was! It turns out his name is Devon and he worked for World Vision. 3 weeks later I ended up in a couple countries called Georgia and Armenia that border Iran. From that point on, we’ve been working with World Vision with the artist Collective, but mostly with the youth team. Speaking or playing music in schools and churches on behalf of World Vision and our passion to see a better world.


HF: What of the HungerFree message and approach inspires you most?

BAL: We love the idea of branding it as HungerFree. It’s an idea that students can get behind. Hunger Free sounds positive; it sounds possible! The model that World Vision has laid out is probably one of our favourite things about it. The way they will stay in one community until they are totally self-sufficient and then move on to the next – it’s a legit way to end hunger. It’s an ACTUAL solution and it isn’t that far off. Whenever we talk to people about this, their reaction is always my favourite because they seem so surprised that it’s so thought out and you can see skeptics thinking up a storm about how this just might work.

HF: What has been the response to working with World Vision and HungerFree so far?

BAL: Working with HungerFree so far has had such a great response; it’s becoming a term people are using just by seeing it continually branded as the HungerFree tour on our social media. Schools have been excited about getting involved. Currently we have a 20 school reach in the month of February and still more requests and responses coming in. Unfortunately for some dates, multiple people have wanted to book a spot on the tour and we’ve had to turn them away, which is a good problem to have!

HF: What advice do you have for young people who are interested in connecting their passion and talents to making a difference in the world?

BAL: This is something I really feel makes all the difference. If you aren’t passionate about something, you aren’t going to put everything into it. The things you do with your time, life, and resources really show where your heart is. For us, because we are passionate about music, doing this tour – putting in hundred of hours, late nights, little sleep, doing all the booking, editing, writing, speaking, producing, programming – makes it all worth it. It doesn’t seem like work because we love it.

Some advice that we would give young people who are interested in doing this? What do you love? Start there. Start with your passion and then pick a cause that you care about. When those two things mix, you have to succeed. So you love to snowboard? Enter every snowboard competition and donate the winnings. You love math? Have a mathlete competition and donate the funds! Trust me, any time you put yourself second to someone else, people think its weird and want to hear about it. It doesn’t take too much selflessness to start spreading awareness.


TAKE PART IN CREATING A HUNGERFREE WORLD TOGETHER THROUGH

Double Up 30 HR Famine