Dog Hates To Eat Alone, Just Like Most Of Us.

Dog Hates To Eat Alone, Just Like Most Of Us.

Jeannine S recently rescued an little dog who has an even cuter message for us all She hates to eat alone. The dog will carry her doggy dish over to her new roommate Clyde so they can enjoy eating together. For those of us in school, maybe we should use this as an example, and sit beside someone eating alone during lunch. One ‘Hello’ can change everything.

Craig Kielburger and I sharing about Free The Children and how WE Go Further with Ford

Craig Kielburger and I sharing about Free The Children and how WE Go Further with Ford

Craig Kielburger and I spent some time with Ford sharing the story and inspiration of Free The Children and how WE all Go Further to create change.

A version of this is airing as a commercial on Fox during New Girl, Bones and The Following for the next couple of weeks.

Celebrating 20 years of Free The Children

Celebrating 20 years of Free The Children

Whenever I encounter people who are skeptics or people that are surprised at my passion, interest and my age, I think about my friend, Craig Kielburger. 20 years ago, today, on April 19, 1995 Craig was searching through the newspaper for the comic section on a Saturday morning when he stumbled across an article that would change the way he looked at the world forever.

It was the story of Iqbal Masih. When Iqbal was 4 years old, he was sold into child labour. For 6 years, he was chained to a carpet weaving loom until one day, he miraculously escaped. He began to speak out against child labour. He told anyone and everyone who would listen about the hundreds, thousands of children like him. Every time he spoke out, carpet sales went down. People couldn’t ignore him anymore. He started receiving invitations to talk about child labour. He even spoke at the United Nations! But one day, when Iqbal was riding his bike in his hometown, he was shot and killed. Iqbal was 12 years old when he died. The same age Craig was at the time, the same age I am now.

iqbal

Craig tore the article out of the paper and brought it to his class. He asked his teacher if he could read the article and what he had learned about child labour so far. He said, “I don’t know much about child labour but I know it’s wrong. Who wants to join me to stop it?” Eleven hands slowly went up. They called their organization “The 12 12-Year-Olds”. But…they had to change the name when one of them turned 13!

Today is a very special day to a lot of people. Today is the 20th anniversary of Free The Children, the name Craig now called his organization. Today, Free The Children has grown to a network of 8.3 million young people from 8,500 schools dedicated to freeing the cycle of poverty and freeing young people from the thought that they are powerless to change the world. Free The Children has now built over 650 schools, has donated over $16 Million to healthcare, has given over 1 Million people in developing communities clean water for life and so much more. And, they have just reached a huge milestone last month with their 50th We Day across Canada, The US and The UK.

So, Craig’s story teaches, I and hundreds of thousands of others are NEVER too young to change the world. People need to recognize that no matter your age, you CAN change the world. In my journey as a changemaker, I have learned that one small action can turn into something bigger than you EVER imagined. Craig and his brother Marc have shown me that.

I want to share with you 5 more things that I have learned from Craig and Marc – my friends, role models and mentors – over the past few years.

1. Education is important. Craig recently told me to learn as many languages as I can. He said that it will help when you start to travel and get to know people later on in life.

2. When you first step onto a stage, take a deep breath, look around the audience and take it all in. Craig told me this before I got on the We Day stage for the very first time. I was nervous and excited and to this day, I still remember that first time speaking in front of a large audience.

3. Always shine the brightest light on your team and support system. Marc and Craig always show gratitude to all of the people that support them – their teams at Free The Children, Me to We and We Day, volunteers, sponsors, donors and students. These people are a big reason why Free The Children continues to grow bigger than anyone would ever think.

4. Give thanks to your teachers and parents. Marc and Craig talk often about the support and encouragement that they got from their teachers and parents over the years. It was (and is) one of the most important things to them.

5. When you find that you can’t do something alone, call a Minga. I really love a story that Marc shares about a Minga. A Minga is a community working together to accomplish something. When Marc and Craig were in Ecuador trying to build a school, they realized they didn’t have enough time as they were leaving soon. The leader of the community saw this and called all the people in the village to help build the school. And they did it. They worked together as a team and accomplished something awesome!

To Craig and Marc, thank you SO much for all the work that you do. You have made us all know that we are never too young to change the world, to do it together, be creative, there are so many more things but if I kept writing, this would be a VERY long blog post. You have helped so many developing communities and have given them education, clean water, healthcare, food and income. You have given them the tools and resources to keep sustaining themselves with these necessities to make it on their own. You have given young people a voice and made them realize that we are not powerless to change the world. And on a very personal note, thank you for believing in me and sharing your journey with me. I’m proud to be Free the Children Ambassador and a Me to We Speaker. But most importantly, I’m very honoured to call you my friends.

If you want to learn more about Free The Children and the amazing work that they do, you can go to freethechildren.com for more information.

ftc20

Waste Free Lunch #LetsBeLitterFree

Waste Free Lunch #LetsBeLitterFree
Waste Free Lunch #LetsBeLitterFree

My motto, “little things add up to make a big difference,” came from my passion for the environment. I have always wanted to help the environment be clean and healthy for everyone, it makes the world a better place.

Recently, my school has joined a growing movement of schools that have taken a big step toward reducing waste at school by introducing Boomerang or Waste Free Lunch policies.

So, why are Waste Free Lunches such a big deal? I found some facts to demonstrate the impact that your lunch might have on the environment:

FACT: Plastic takes about 450 years just to START to decompose. That means that every single piece of plastic that has ever been made has not even started to decompose.

FACT: The average student throws away 67 pounds of garbage every year from their lunch! (By the way, that weighs even more than I do!)

FACT: 100 MILLION pieces of lunchtime trash gets thrown away EVERY 24 HOURS!

 Those are some pretty big numbers. Numbers I can hardly wrap my head around. I recently did a schoolyard cleanup with some friends and we collected 8 bags of garbage from one yard! I have to tell you that most of the garbage that we collected was from lunch – plastic baggies, wrappers and packaging. But here’s the thing – we CAN do something about this.

Are you with me? Are you ready to commit to reducing your lunch waste?

Here are my tips for Waste Free Lunches. (By the way, these are for school OR office)

 

  1. Waste Free Lunches start at the grocery store. Say “no” to plastic and use reusable bags or none at all. In the produce section for example, you don’t need to put your apples in a plastic bag and pick out produce with less packaging.

WFL Grocery

 

  1. While you’re shopping, keep in mind the quantity and packaging of the food you’re buying. Buy large sizes to pack for lunch in your containers. This way you create less overall waste and it costs less money.

 

WFL Chips

 

  1. Know the difference between trash, recycle and compost. Make sure that your apple cores, banana peels and napkins go into the compost or green bin and not in the garbage. If you don’t have compost or green bins at school – boomerang them and bring them home.

 

  1. Make room in your kitchen to keep all of your Waste Free Lunch stuff. Reusable containers in different sizes and colours, a thermos for hot lunches, utensils.

 

WFL Drawer

 

  1. I recently found a new addition to my Waste Free Lunch – Funkins resusable napkins. I use them, bring them home and throw them in the laundry. I love these because I can use them as napkins and placemats. As a placemat they’re great because they keep my lunch away from any germs that might be on my desk at school and it also keeps my desk clean. They come in a lot of different patterns and colours and that’s cool too. (Check mine out in the photos below.)

WFL Example

WFL Lunchables

 

  1. Bake more, buy less. Not only is it fun to bake, but it also reduces waste and most of the time, what you bake is healthier than what you buy.
  1. Plan ahead and pack a bunch of things for lunch at the beginning of the week so that it’s easy. Keep your containers filled with snacks so that you just grab a few and toss them in your lunch bag in the morning.

WFL Packed

 

Do you have tips to share about your own Waste Free Lunch? Let me know, I’d love to know what you and your school is doing. Tell me in the comments below or share your photos and tips on social media with the hashtag #LetsBeLitterFree. I’ll be sharing more of mine on Twitter and Instagram @ThatHannahAlper on both.

I am taking part in the Funkins blog campaign. While I have received compensation as part of my affiliation with this program, my opinions and ideas are all mine. 

TIME SENSITIVE, DUE TOMORROW! Isabel’s Pet Portrait Fundraiser is Back for a (VERY) limited time!

TIME SENSITIVE, DUE TOMORROW! Isabel’s Pet Portrait Fundraiser is Back for a (VERY) limited time!

I’m going to make this short because time is running out on this awesome fundraiser by one of the most amazing young change-makers out there.

Stop what you’re doing, gather your family and meet Isabel.

Isabel is 7-years-old and has a big heart that has been taken over by bunnies. Let me explain. Isabel joins her mother and volunteers at a rescue center for small animals. She has been doing this for some time and wanted to do something to help the animals there – especially the bunnies.

What can a 7-year-old do to raise the money that the rescue center needs? (Hint: Issue + Gift = Change)

Watch this video and find out. I promise it will have you running to find your favourite picture of your pet. I just did.

To get your very own pet portrait by Isabel and help her support The Small Animal Rescue Society, visit her page on Canada Helps and find Isabel’s Pet Portrait Fundraiser on Facebooks to keep up to date on the amazing things that she is doing.

I am sending Isabel this photo of my dog, Indigo and my cousin’s dog, Zoe. I can’t wait to get my very own Pet Portrait by Isabel. I’ll post it here on my blog when I get it!

indigoandzoe

 

 

We Day Seattle Lineup 2015!

We Day Seattle Lineup 2015!

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All the WE-spiration is coming to Washington State on April 23 at The KeyArena at the Seattle Center. From world-class speakers to top performers, Seattle get ready!

This is your Seattle We Day lineup!

  • Pete Carroll – Head Coach of the Seattle Seahawks, 2014 Super Bowl Champions, and We Day Seattle Co-Chair
  • The Head and the Heart – Indie folk band
  • Nina Dobrev – Actress who stars as Elena Gilbert on The CW’s supernatural drama The Vampire Diaries
  • Lennon & Maisy – Actors and musicians, who play Maddie and Daphne Conrad on ABC’s Nashville
  • Hannah Simone – Actress from hit television series New Girl
  • Dr. Mae Jemison – First woman of color in space, physician, scientist, engineer, explorer and futurist
  • Bridgit Mendler – Singer, songwriter, actress, musician and record producer
  • Marco James – Actor on The CW’s supernatural drama The Vampire Diaries
  • Becca Tobin – Actress from the award-winning television series Glee
  • Doug Baldwin – Seattle Seahawks wide receiver, #89
  • Luke Willson – Seattle Seahawks tight end, #82
  • Bobby Wagner – Seattle Seahawks linebacker, #54
  • Apolo Ohno – Eight-time short track speed skating Olympic medalist
  • Kweku Mandela – Social advocate, filmmaker, and grandson of President Nelson Mandela
  • Laila Ali – TV host, Author, Fit & Wellness Expert, Four-time boxing world champion and daughter of global icon & humanitarian Muhammad Ali
  • Sigi Schmid – Head Coach, Seattle Sounders FC
  • Clint Dempsey – Seattle Sounders FC forward, #2 and captain, U.S. National Team
  • Obafemi Martins – Seattle Sounders FC forward, #9 and forward, Nigeria National Team
  • Kardinal Offishall  – Award-winning rap artist, music producer and Free The Children ambassador
  • Bars and Melody – British R&B and rapping duo
  • Luke Bilyk – Actor from the Emmy-nominated TV series DEGRASSI
  • Mohammad Ashour – CEO of Aspire
  • Mustafa the Poet – 18-year-old poet, writer, actor and emcee
  • Craig and Marc Kielburger – International activists and co-founders of We Day
  • Spencer West – Me to We motivational speaker, Free The Children ambassador and author
  • Gabi Ury  – 16-year-old high school junior and Guinness Book of World Records female planking champion
  • Gracie Schram – Singer, songwriter and philanthropist
  • Kat Tiscornia – Youth philanthropist and inspirational speaker
  • Brandon Shell and Mark Rivers – YMCA Alive & Free Street Outreach Workers
  • The Connection – Dance group
  • Hannah Alper  – 12-year-old Me to We inspirational speaker, Free The Children Ambassador, blogger and youth activist
  • Ashley Rose Murphy  – Motivational youth speaker

This is going to be one amazing day. We can’t wait to celebrate all the local and global change YOU have been making. See you there!

We Day Seattle is free to thousands of students thanks to National Co-Title Sponsors Microsoft YouthSpark and National Co-Title Sponsor Allstate. Learn more about We Day Seattle here.

seattle sponsor footer

 

Earth Hour is set for tonight!

Earth Hour is set for tonight!

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On Saturday, 28 March 8:30 p.m. local time, individuals, businesses and cities around the world will switch off their lights for one hour to focus attention on climate change. As the lights go out, Earth Hour supporters will also be contributing real climate solutions to combat the globe’s biggest environmental challenge. This is a cause I truly believe in.

This year, Earth Hour is set to be a record-breaking celebration of our planet in 172 countries and territories having confirmed their participation, including the Philippines, Maldives and Madagascar along with Brazil, the United States, Canada and China.

Since its origin as a symbolic lights off event in Sydney in 2007, WWF’s Earth Hour has grown into the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment with huge public awareness and action on climate in more than 7,000 cities across the world.

Everyone’s talking climate change. Use hashtag #YourPower and take climate action now!

Join My Project Empowerment Campaign

Join My Project Empowerment Campaign

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I’m so excited to share that I have just launched a Change Heroes campaign called Project Empowerment and I’m so happy to see the change that my team is going to make. I’ve learned a thing or two about creating change in the past few years – I traveled across this beautiful country with We Day the We Create Change Tour. When I look back on what we did, why we did it and who we did it for, what it all comes down to is EMPOWERMENT.

I am writing this today because I have been empowered – my journey as a changemaker is fueled by it.

I am empowered by support from my parents and teachers.

I am empowered by my role models and mentors.

I am empowered by my community – that community that includes you – the community that we call WE.

I am empowered because I have found my voice both through my blog and through speaking.

I am empowered by the many organizations like Free The Children, Change Heroes and RBC Insurance and the tools and resources that they provide to me.

I am empowered because I know that the all of the things that we do add up to make a big difference.

Here’s the biggest thing that I have learned about empowerment – when you have it – you need to do 2 things with it.

1. Use it.

2. Share it. Give it away. Pass it on.

This is really important and has both local and global meaning this year.

Locally, empower your friends, family and community to find their spark and take action. Believe in and support someone the way that others have done for you. That is how you empower somebody.

Globally, with initiatives like Project Empowerment, we turn our focus beyond our circle to include people that we don’t know, but we can give them empowerment that will make a big difference in their lives and the lives of their families and communites. Empowerment is all about providing opportunity for people to create their own change.

This is why I’ve launched my Project Empowerment Campaign with Change Heroes. It’s really easy – and so much fun – to get involved!

I’m asking for you to give $1 a day for 3 months – that’s less than a chocolate bar or a bag of chips. I’ve made the first donation to get it started.

The funds I’ve committed to raising will make a long-lasting impact on villages in Ecuador through various programs, including:

pillar-1
SCHOOL PROGRAMS
3-year programs with girls in primary and secondary school to develop public speaking skills, leadership training, group working skills and developing confidence and pride.

pillar-2
INCOME PROGRAMS
Training and skill development to empower women to engage in entrepreneurship opportunities to support the livelihood of their families.

pillar-3
SKILLS TRAINING
Weaving, animal husbandry, as well as financial and empowerment training to develop small businesses.

pillar-4
WOMEN’S GROUPS
Free The Children encourages formations of women’s and girls’ groups to strengthen family income, increase self-esteem of young women and develop strong female leaders.

All 4 actions enables a community of women to support their families through small business, and send their children to school. instead of work. This kind of support helps break the cycle of poverty, and we know what happens when kids go to school. That’s right….Change.

Change Heroes is an awesome way to create change and get your friends and family involved with you. It is really proof that all the little things (even $1 a day) adds up to make a big difference. Project Empowerment is a campaign that is running for a limited time – you have to launch by the end of March.

Oh, there’s one more thing to tell you – RBC Insurance is giving away a Me to We trip for 4 to Ecuador and if your #ProjectEmpowerment campaign raises $3000 or more, you are entered into a draw to win a trip to see the change that you are creating first hand!

 

Montreal – Get Ready For We Day This Week!

Montreal – Get Ready For We Day This Week!

Montreal, are you ready for world-changers & positive-thinkers to invade your city?! Your favourite youth empowerment event – We Day – is coming to you March 24 at the Théâtre St-Denis.

Get pumped. This is your We Day Montreal lineup!

  • Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire – Retired lieutenant-general, Senator, and celebrated humanitarian
  • Alexandre Despatie – Two-time Canadian Olympic diver and Host of BT Montreal
  • Kardinal Offishall – Award-winning rap artist, music producer and Free The Children ambassador
  • JRDN – Juno Award-winning artist and Free The Children ambassador
  • Jonas & The Massive Attraction – JUNO-nominated chart-topping rock band
  • Andee – Canadian recording artist
  • Karl Wolf – International recording artist, MTV Europe Music Award-winner and Free The Children ambassador
  • Neverest – Chart-topping MMVA-nominated Canadian pop-rock band
  • Sarah Fisher and Jessica Tyler – Cast members from the Emmy-nominated TV series DEGRASSI
  • Jimmy Baptiste – Artist, graphic designer, curator and youth educator 
  • Liz Trinnear – VJ, host of the MUCH COUNTDOWN, and co-host of We Day Montreal
  • Tyrone Edwards – Host of E! and co-host of We Day Montreal
  • Mustafa the Poet – 18-year-old poet, writer, actor and emcee
  • Craig Kielburger – International activist and co-founder of We Day
  • Spencer West – Me to We motivational speaker, Free The Children ambassador and author
  • Salima Visram – Founder of The Soular Backpack
  • Jonathan Emile – Grammy®-nominated singer-songwriter, entrepreneur and cancer survivor
  • Mountagha Sow – President, Montreal Youth Council
  • Anya Pogharian – 17-year-old inventor of a home dialysis machine
  • David Hodges – Hip-hop producer and music educator
  • Fabrice Vil – Co-founder, CEO, Pour 3 Points
  • Sarah Steben Dancers – Montreal dance team
  • Hannah Alper – 12-year-old Me to We inspirational speaker, Free The Children ambassador, blogger and youth activist
  • Ashley Rose Murphy – Motivational youth speaker

One person I can’t wait to meet is Salima Visram, creator of The Soular Backpack. Over the past year, she designed and put together her invention, which would allow kids in rural areas to leverage the power of the sun on their long walks to and from school every day. The backpack would have a solar panel on it, whose storage battery would later connect to an LED lamp, hence allowing children in rural areas, who have no access to electricity or who use kerosene, to study through the night. 3-4 hours in the sun would result in 7-8 hours of light.

The Soular Backpack is something that I truly believe can impact the lives and futures of millions of children, not only in Kenya but in Africa. Way to go, Salima!

This is going to be one INSPIRING day. I can’t wait to celebrate all the local and global positive change YOU have been making. See you there!

 

The Collective Project shows how students are changing the world

The Collective Project shows how students are changing the world

From the age of 9, the #CollectiveProject‘s Neha Gupta wanted to change the world. After starting Empower Orphans with a garage sale, she expanded her organization, creating change and becoming a voice for children everywhere.

Introducing the #CollectiveProject. See how students like Neha Gupta are changing the world.