ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Organizers of WE Day are getting ready for tomorrow’s big concert at the Xcel Energy Center.
The event will bring together 18,000 students from across Minnesota who have devoted time to volunteer work and community service projects over the last school year. You can’t buy a ticket to the concert — you have to earn it.
It’s easy to see why a rehearsal for WE Day at the X is needed. There are four stages, a DJ booth and a long list of speakers and performers.
Wilson Meikuaya and Jackson Ntirkana are members of the Maasai tribe in Kenya — a group known for its rich culture and warrior training. They’re speakers this year because students participating in WE Day have raised money to build hospitals and schools in rural villages across Africa.
“That’s why we are so much happy to be here,” Jackson said. “To come and say a big thank you for them for the work they have been doing, because it seems you are helping someone that you don’t know.”
The two friends are also part of the first generation of Maasai to go to college. They wrote a book about their journey, one that all students will receive as a gift.
“We live in a small world — this is because of education,” Wilson said. “That I can speak different languages, I can now take care of my community, gaining knowledge through education. So it has impacted my life a lot.”
And volunteerism is no doubt impacting Minnesota kids. WE Day organizers say this past year students here raised more than $1 million for local charities, and contributed 600,000 hours of community service.
“To learn from each other, and we encourage each other that we have the power to change the world,” Wilson said.
Some of the big names taking the stage are George Takei of Star Trek fame and singer/dancer Paula Abdul.
WCCO’s own Frank Vascellaro and Amelia Santaniello will be there as well to welcome the students and introduce a student from Blaine High School who will share what her school has been doing.