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Improving Lives with a New WE Global Learning Centre

Marc and Craig Kielburger are the co-founders of a family of organizations dedicated to the power of WE, a movement of people coming together to change the world. Within that far-reaching movement is a holistic development model called WE Villages, which has helped lift more than one million people out of poverty in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The latest development for WE is a Global Learning Centre in downtown Toronto—a 43,000 sq. ft. learning centre for global social justice activities.

Here’s a write-up from InsideToronto on the fantastic new building:

The corner of Queen and Parliament streets — once home to the eclectic Marty Millionaire furniture store — has become a hub through which young people will be able to effect change on a global scale.

The large building at 339 Queen St. E. is now home to WE Charity’s new Global Learning Centre, an impressive high-tech building that gives the youth empowering organization plenty of space to start their own social enterprises, engage with other youth from around the world, learn about Indigenous reconciliation and more.

With 1.8 million young Canadians — and 3.8 million young people globally — already part of the WE Movement, the Global Learning Centre gives the charity a 43,000-square-foot space from which to do good.

“The social value of what these kids do — so when you actually calculate the dollars they raise for charity plus the service hours logged as set by the federal government, they’ve created … over $200 million every year supporting 7,000 nonprofits,” WE co-founder Craig Kielburger said of the work being done.

The new Global Learning Centre came about through various donations and partnerships, meaning that none of the funds raised by WE youth went toward the creation of the new centre.

“It’s like a science centre to change the world,” Kielburger said. “They can spend time in Skype pods to connect around the world, have conversations with Kenya and Ecuador and India.

“We have an incubation centre where students can have their own desks, their own lockers, they can come in as they want.”

In that incubation centre, youngsters will come with an idea and can get the support they need to create their own social enterprise to create change in a variety of areas, from poverty reduction to environmental issues to education and more.

There is also a legacy room created in partnership with the Wenjack family, who gained national attention through the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund, to bring about awareness of Indigenous reconciliation.

Hartley Richardson, one of the key donors, decided to give after seeing the impact the We Movement has on young people and on communities around the world. Landmark donations from his family and his family’s fund and fellow donor David Aisenstat were crucial in making the new centre a reality.