More than 20,000 young people turned out last Friday in Toronto for We Day, an event that aims to empower and inspire Canadian youth for social change, and AOL Canada and HuffPost Impact Canada were proud to be part of it. For the second year in a row, we partnered with Free the Children, which sponsors the annual event in Toronto and other Canadian cities.
HuffPost Impact Canada's "Be the Change" campaign featured a video booth activation for attendees to voice what they will do to drive social change locally, nationally or internationally. You'll find extensive coverage of We Day on HuffPost Impact Canada, including exclusive interviews with speakers and performers Nelly Furtado, Martin Sheen, Romeo Dallaire, Shawn Desman, Jennifer Hudson and Justin Trudeau, along with a We Day big page specific to the event.
We'll also participate in We Day in Vancouver on October 18 and Calgary on October 24. In support of Free the Children earlier this year, AOL Canada raised $25,000 to Adopt-a-Village in Kenya and sent seven employees to Africa to support the construction of a local school. AOL is very proud of the partnership and will continue efforts to support the Free the Children organization.
Check out full coverage of the event here, and the video below.
To encourage positive change in communities across Canada, AOL Canada and the Huffington Post Media Group launched HuffPost Canada Impact today. The site, part of Huffington Post Canada, will focus on poverty, homelessness, immigration, citizenship and aboriginal news and serve as a platform for readers to take action on these issues.
HuffPost Canada Impact will feature contributions from Huffington Post editors, bloggers, and community leaders as well as regular content from non-profit partner organizations including include Free The Children, an international children's charity; Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, a Canadian charity working for a swimmable, drinkable, fishable world, and Habitat for Humanity Canada, which builds affordable housing and promotes home ownership to break the cycle of poverty.
Launch week will include features such as "Greatest Person," stories of great Canadians inspiring others to make a difference, and "If I could #Change Canada," a collection of stories, videos, tweets and more on what readers would do to make the country better.
"Impact is a key part of HuffPost's DNA -- not only telling stories but starting conversations around our shared passions and inviting our readers to connect, engage, and make a difference in the lives of others," said Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, in a blog post today.
Rashida Jeeva, general manager of the Huffington Post Canada, which launched a year ago, said, "We are very excited to leverage the Huffington Post model, which at its core is all about participation, to bring Canadians HuffPost Canada Impact, a unique destination that helps people take action on issues that matter most in their daily lives."
As AOL prepares to participate in the One Day Without Shoes barefoot challenge on April 10th, we had the pleasure of having Blake Mycoskie, Founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS, pay a special visit to our New York City office. Blake spoke about the origins of TOMS, the impact his revolutionary One for One model has had on the world and explained why the Tom's One Day Without Shoes campaign is so much more than just going without shoes for a day.
Introduced by Blair Cobb, Senior Director of AOL Cause Marketing, and greeted by packed conference rooms across the country watching the live stream, Blake started off by explaining how his life experiences and time spent in Argentina led to his unique vision. When he witnessed the hardships facing children growing up barefoot in Argentina, he knew he had to help in some way, and the One for One movement was born.
Through a bit of trial and error, and the help of amazing editorial pickup from outlets like the LA Times and Vogue, Blake was able to sell 10,000 pairs of shoes his first summer, which translated into 10,000 pairs of shoes donated to children in need. After his first trip to Argentina to drop off shoes, his life was forever changed.
From the beginning, Blake knew that in order to make a big impact and make his idea truly work, he had to do more than just create a charity – he knew that he had to create a business model that incorporated an active giving component into the overarching strategy. Through the success of his model, he strongly believes and teaches that the more "good" that companies can incorporate into their business strategies, the bigger an impact they will have on society, and in doing that, the more brand ambassadors they would have without even trying!
To generate awareness around his One for One model and the importance a pair of shoes can have on a child's life, Blake created TOMS One Day Without Shoes. Through this event, individuals go without shoes for a day, and begin to understand how vital they are to your overall health. Though this sounds like a movement aimed solely around this specific cause, it's a really a day aimed at generating awareness for and initiating conversations around all of the causes that we are passionate about. The idea is that curiosity leads to conversation, which leads to action, which ultimately leads to change.
What was primarily a One for One business around shoes has already grown to include a One for One business for Eyeglasses, but only time will tell what other important issues can be remedied through this business model.
Last year, more than 1,000 AOLers went barefoot in honor of TOMS One Day Without Shoes- this year, we're looking to increase our impact 100 times over!
This is where YOU come in! Help AOL reach its goal of reaching 100,000 people with the One Day Without Shoes message. You can do this by taking on one (or more) of the following actions between NOW and April 10th, 2012:
Today, in partnership with Johnson & Johnson, we've launched a new section within HuffPost Impact called HuffPost Global Motherhood. Global Motherhood will highlight the health issues facing women and children around the world and provide a platform for the people and organizations dedicated to finding solutions to these problems.
Arianna Huffington shares her views on the importance of Global Motherhood here. To learn more about Johnson & Johnson's involvement, including their long-standing commitment to women and children, read Sharon D'Agostino's blog post here.
Welcome to HuffPost Global Motherhood, Where Mothers Matter aol.it/x11nam
The Huffington Post UK launched The Huffington Post Impact bringing together all the charity and issues-based stories on the site, as well as lots of blogs from well-known names in the charity sector.
On the Impact page in the UK today you can find a whole host of blogs from leading voices: Dr Miriam Stoppard talks about how she's enabling "girl power" through her support for the international children's charity Plan UK, Caroline Davey, Director of Policy at Gingerbread urges us to remember single parents in need, and Anne Marie Carrie, CEO at Barnado's reminds us of the help that we should be offering to disadvantaged children, all very apt as the UK is in the midst of the annual Children in Need campaign.
Other blogs launching on the site today from representatives of major charities include John Nuttall from Unicef, Ayoub Koussar on behalf of the British Council and Aurelie Walker from the Fairtrade Foundation.Going forward, we're looking forward to hosting regular blogs from UK charities of all shapes and sizes and enabling them to get their message out to a large audience.