MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Eighteen-thousand kids brought the energy to St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center Wednesday for We Day.

Those who earned their way in through service saw celebs like Magic Johnson, rocked out with today’s hottest musicians and heard inspirational stories from speakers like J.R. Martinez, a soldier injured in Iraq who turned tragedy into strength.

“I am where I am because of the support that I received from my community, and that empowered me not to hide behind a curtain, but instead show the world my scars and be proud of them,” Martinez said.

Actor Martin Sheen delivered a moving speech on giving back.

“My fondest wish for each and everyone here this afternoon is that you will find something in your life worth fighting for,” Sheen said. “Because when you do, you will have found a way to unite the will of the spirit with the work of the flesh, and the world will have discovered fire for the second time!”

Colbie Caillat sang her hit song “Try” — one of the only breaks in the fast-paced show.

“It’s so easy in life to be, in a way, self-absorbed,” Caillat said. “Everything you do is you go to school to learn for yourself, you go to work to make money for yourself. You do all these things for yourself, and to step out of that and do something for one other person or a million other people – it feels so good.”

The co-founders of We Day — Craig and Marc Kielburger — are brothers. Their goal is to empower a younger generation, showing them how small acts add up to big change.

“These acts, they may start small, but when we come together, like we do here at We Day, they add up to massive change, and that is the spirit of what We Day is all about,” Kielburger said.

Though a day out of the classroom for these kids, this giant arena became what the Kielburgers call the “School of Empowerment.” The goal is to move from “me” to “we.”