MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The charity effort that celebrates kids who make a difference is returning to Minnesota Wednesday.

Instead of a day in school, 20,000 students will experience the ultimate concert and speaker series known as We Day.

Co-founder Marc Kielburger said Minnesota is the obvious place to celebrate kids who are changing their communities and the world.

“Service, education, volunteerism, participatory community engagement — that needs to be fostered, it needs to be taught,” Kielburger said. “We Day gives the ability to do so.”

Over the last year, local students have done some incredible things to participate in We Day. Kielburger said they’ve supported 387,000 local and international causes, and collected tens of thousands of pounds of food for We Scare Hunger during Halloween.

Wednesday’s event features motivational speakers and musical performances. J.R. Martinez not only shares his journey from the Army to Hollywood, but speaks to students about staying motivated when times are tough.

“Selfishly as much as I’m here to try and provide something to help them, I think it’s selfishly given me something,” Martinez said. “It inspires me to realize that I can make a difference. If these kids are doing it, I can do it as well and I should join forces with them.”

There’s only one way in to We Day – you must earn a ticket through service. But students leave with a new sense of purpose.

“We simply wanted to come back to honor these amazing kids, to tell them how proud we are and to wish them good luck for this upcoming year,” Kielburger said.

Five-hundred schools are participating in St. Paul’s We Day. Most are from Minnesota and Wisconsin, but there are students coming from as far away as Colorado for the event.

For schools and families who can’t attend, a live stream of the event can be found on wcco.com. Click here for more information.

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