TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 28, 2012) -
Editors Note: A photo for this release is available via Marketwire on the picture wire of The Canadian Press.
Today at We Day Toronto, Free The Children, supported by RBC, embarks on what it hopes will be Canada's largest penny drive, calling on all students to create change by providing a powerful send-off to the Canadian penny, which will soon be going out of circulation.
Unveiled by Craig and Marc Kielburger on stage in front of 20,000 young people and educators, the We Create Change Campaign, and corresponding penny drive, is made possible by RBC. The campaign supports Free The Children's year-long Water Initiative to provide 100,000 people with permanent sources of clean water.
Students and schools will be given penny bags to support their efforts. When one bag is filled, it equals $25 - enough to provide one person with a permanent source of clean water. RBC branches across Canada will be accepting these penny bags filled with $25 worth of pennies from November 1 - December 21, 2012 and once again in the late spring of 2013 (exact dates to be confirmed).
"We want Canadian youth to collect pennies to create change," said Hedley front man, Jacob Hoggard. "I have seen firsthand the impact of Free the Children's clean water programs and I am excited to see young Canadians get involved to make a difference."
The penny made its first appearance more than 100 years ago, in 1858. During We Day Toronto, students were asked to hold up a penny - that they'd been given in their We Day Gift Bags - uniting everyone for an important cause: water.
"Growing up, I'm sure I wasn't alone in having a piggy bank filled with pennies and loose change, so why not use this change to help make real change possible," said Craig Kielburger, co-Founder, Free The Children. "Free The Children is going back to basics this year with a penny drive, and thanks to RBC, it is now easier than ever to make your cents count. For the first time, no rolling or counting needed. Just pick up a bag, fill it and drop it off at your local RBC branch and we'll take care of the rest."
Free The Children ambassadors Nelly Furtado and Hedley's Jacob Hoggard, along with Kielburger, carried the on-stage message into the press room during We Day Toronto at the Air Canada Centre. Other Free The Children supporters, including UK band The Wanted and The Jonas Brothers, also sent their messages of support for this Free The Children initiative.
Check out the We Create Change video, featuring The Jonas Brothers, Nelly Furtado, and The Wanted
"More often than not, it's the girls in the family that stay home from school and trek miles each day to collect water," said Nelly Furtado. "After having had the opportunity to visit Free The Children's Kisaruni All Girls Secondary School in Kenya, I was able to see the impact clean water has on these communities and on the young girls who are now able to get an education and no longer trek miles each day to collect water."
"Financial literacy and access to clean water are two issues that RBC cares about very strongly - this campaign brings them together in a way we believe young Canadians will relate to," added Dave McKay, Group Head, Canadian Banking, RBC. "We Create Change gives Canada's youth a simple, tangible way to show the value in every cent and RBC is happy to do our part to support students and schools across Canada's as they participate in this penny drive."
Individuals can also get involved in Free The Children's Water Initiative by:
• Visiting the Water Initiative online hub: Through the Water Initiative website, you can contribute virtually to the penny drive. Learn more about the importance of clean water as it relates to lifting a community out of poverty, and donate your cents through this interactive online experience. As little as a $25 donation provides one person with permanent sources of clean water.
• Purchasing a Me to We Artisans Water Rafiki Friend Chain: As worn by Spencer West, every $10 Water Rafiki Friend Chain provides one person access to clean water for one year. Each is unique and handmade with love by Maasai mamas in Kenya, with 100 per cent of the proceeds from the Me to We Artisans Water Rafiki Friend Chain supporting Free The Children's clean water programming around the world and benefit the mamas who make the chains.
For more information, visit www.freethechildren.com/water.
Free The Children's long term and sustainable Adopt a Village model is implemented in communities throughout Haiti, Kenya, rural China, India, Sierra Leone, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Ghana. Water is the essential thread that flows through all five pillars of Free The Children's Adopt a Village model, enabling communities to thrive: education, clean water and sanitation, health, alternative income and livelihood, and agriculture and food security.
About Free The Children
Free The Children is an international charity and educational partner that has more than 1.7 million young people involved in its programs in 45 countries. Founded in 1995 by international activist Craig Kielburger, Free The Children believes in a world where young people are free to achieve their fullest potential, and empowers youth to remove barriers that prevent them from being active local and global citizens. The organization's domestic programs-which includes We Day, Free The Children's signature youth empowerment event-educate, engage and empower hundreds of thousands of youth in North America, the UK and around the world to become engaged global citizens. Its international projects have brought more than 650 schools and school rooms to youth and provided clean water and sanitation, health care and food security to one million people around the world, freeing children and their families from the cycle of poverty.
The organization has received the World's Children's Prize for the Rights of the Child (also known as the Children's Nobel Prize), the Human Rights Award from the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations, and has formed successful partnerships with leading school boards and Oprah's Angel Network. For more information, visit www.freethechildren.com.
About RBC and Youth
RBC supports a diverse range of youth-focused initiatives across Canada, through sponsorships, donations and employee volunteer activities. Through long-term commitments with Free The Children, a world-wide youth movement founded in Canada, RBC is supporting We Day events across Canada, the We Schools in Action program and We Create Change and will be the exclusive financial services sponsor of all Free The Children initiatives. In addition, RBC seeks to provide young people with the financial understanding and foundation to achieve secure financial futures by offering free financial advice and tools to students through the RBC Advice Centre and the RBC Financial Advice for Students website. For more information, visit www.rbcadvicecentre.com.