Thousands of Alberta students are spending the day with celebrities and world renowned speakers at the Saddledome in Calgary to celebrate another year of youth actions that have reshaped communities and changed lives.

WE Day Alberta kicked off on Wednesday morning with about 16,000 students in attendance.

Speakers and performers at this year’s event include; Chris Hadfield, Paula Abdul, Classified, Brett Kissel, Margaret Trudeau, Rick Hansen, Lindsay Ell, Jully Black and others.

Alberta students had to earn their way to WE Day by exploring topics linked to real-world challenges and then by planning and implementing at least one local and one global action that will improve their community and the world.

“Last year I decided to challenge that voice that was inside my head telling me that I couldn’t make a difference and I took action starting the Confidence Initiative Association at my alma mater Bowness high. So it’s really just a group that gathers once a week to discuss issues on mental health, bullying and just everyday struggles and work to make a difference and host events,” said Madeline Clark who took part in the program last year.  “It was an amazing experience and I’m just so inspired by everyone here today.”

Co-founders Craig and Mark Kielburger started working with communities to free children from poverty and exploitation over 20 years ago and since then have expanded their vision to include WE Day and the social enterprise ME to WE.

Author and ME to WE motivational speaker Spencer West lost his legs to a genetic disease when he was five and says he uses himself as an example for others.

“I want to show them that, listen, not only can challenges be overcome, it’s not always easy but they can be overcome, but we also have the ability to give back and at the same time empower others around us to do the same thing,” said West.

To date, WE Day youth have raised about $79 million for thousands of organizations around the world.

For more information on WE Day, click HERE.