The following post is from Lisa Brummel, Executive Vice President, Human Resources, Microsoft.
|Microsoft YouthSpark reporters Gabrielle, Delaney and Keilon joined We Day co-host Munro Chambers from the hit TeenNick TV show “Degrassi” at We Day Seattle 2013.|
We at Microsoft are inspired by today’s youth. We are amazed by their compassion and determination to make a difference in the lives of others.
There is nothing quite like seeing the brilliant spark of an idea in the eyes of a young person – apart, perhaps, from seeing it in the eyes of 15,000 young people! I will have that privilege today at KeyArena at the second annual Seattle We Day event as part of Microsoft’s three-year commitment to sponsor Free The Children’s signature event and the We Act in-school program in Washington state and California.
We were thrilled to see the thousands of teenage change-agents at We Day Seattle last year and are proud to support this global nonprofit dedicated to inspiring young people to help others. These are star-studded arena events full of motivational speakers, leaders and celebrities. Students today will hear from Edward Norton, Joe Jonas, Cody Simpson and the Seattle Seahawks, to name just a few. San Francisco’s line-up later in the month will include Seth Rogen, Orlando Bloom, Selena Gomez, Martin Sheen and Magic Johnson.
But the real stars, of course, are the amazing high school students who are being rewarded for their We Act community service commitments. My goal in speaking to these young people is to encourage them to keep following their passions and to leverage the power of technology to make the world a better place. At Microsoft, we know that it can happen, because we’ve seen it time and time again. My words today will be simple: each person in the arena can be whoever they want to be and go wherever they want to go, and technology can help them get there faster.
YouthSpark Reporter Natasha Babayan is a great example of this. She’s a Seattle high school senior and an active volunteer at her local Boys & Girls Club. Natasha returned to her parents’ hometown in Armenia a few years ago and was stunned by its poverty-hampered struggle to rebuild after an earthquake that had struck decades before. She was deeply affected by the hardships she saw people enduring – homes made of steel scraps, leaking ceilings, long walks to fetch water from a well. When Free The Children brought its community service curriculum, We Act, to her high school last year, Natasha’s empathy turned to action. She raised money to build schools in the developing world. Natasha is also a high school intern here at Microsoft passionate about technology’s ability to shape the world – one of about 2,000 student interns we hire each year.
I get fired up by stories like Natasha’s!
And by a group of young men studying medicine in Uganda who used technology innovation to solve a major medical issue in rural areas – the lack of access to prenatal care. They used mobile technology to create a portable and affordable replacement for costly, inaccessible ultrasounds. They’ll be on stage at We Day California to share their story – a real life example of applying technology to solve a problem affecting society.
The millennial generation has demonstrated a fantastic ability to fuse empathy with action. So many young people wake up in the morning and ask “What can I do to help?” Technology often helps turn that impulse into action. It provides youth with access to global viewpoints, connections and experiences. It enables them to create solutions to address social issues, rally each other to affect change and crowd-source funding to support causes around the world. The power of young people to create a better world is one of the reasons why we launched Microsoft YouthSpark, our global, companywide initiative that aims to create opportunities for 300 million youth around the world by 2015 through partnerships with governments, nonprofit organizations and businesses. In the first year of YouthSpark, Microsoft created new education, employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for 103 million young people around the world. The YouthSpark Hub is a place where young people can go to get free resources and programs to help them imagine and create a better future.
|The new YouthSpark Hub, a place where young people can go to get free resources and programs to help them imagine and create a better future.|
You can follow #youthspark and @MSFTCitizenship for live tweets and behind-the-scenes content from our YouthSpark Reporters, who will capture the unforgettable moments and positive energy of We Day. You can also follow them through this Twitter list. Students will have the chance to tweet their favorite We Day moment tagged with #youthspark for a chance to win an Xbox One.
To experience We Day Seattle, you can watch the live stream starting at 9:15 a.m. PT. I predict that you will be inspired by this community of incredible young people, each on a journey to make a difference. And please do join us for We Day California on March 26!