Jade Greear of Homewood will bring her inspiring message of caring to an estimated 15,000 teenagers Thursday when she addresses the We Day Illinois audience at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont.
The We Act program is a volunteer effort that gets young people to take action for social change. Greear, a junior at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, was selected from students across Illinois to be a spokesperson at the event. Her presentation will be part of the “Letter to Your Future Self” segment of the daylong program.
“I want to remind my listeners that there’s a huge world out there, but you can’t forget your place in it. You need to be empathetic to others,” she said. Young people throughout the world have different experiences based on their country, ethnicity, family and religion, but each person can take action to help bring about change, Greear added.
It was Greear’s friend, Destiny Watson, who got her involved in volunteering this year when she helped establish You Matter, H-F’s chapter of We Act. Age really doesn’t matter when it comes to making a difference, says Greear, who with her fellow H-F students has been lending a helping hand through simple acts of kindness that brought about change.
In October, the 15 members of You Matter undertook the “We Scare Hunger” initiative going door-to-door collecting canned goods for the needy. The following month, the students sponsored “We Create Change” by collecting loose change from fellow students, family members and friends. They raised enough money to help three families in Africa buy goats, an important source of family food and income in the region.
Greear has overcome stage fright by performing with the H-F Park District theater and drama programs, and she has been on the H-F speech team, but for this, the first We Day celebration in Illinois, her audience will be in the thousands. She has worked with We Day producers to finalize her script and feels she’s ready for her big presentation.
We Day participants earned their ticket to the program by completing one local and one national project and sharing work of their project with the Free the Children program. Throughout the day, participants will hear inspirational messages from Common, Jennifer Hudson, Selena Gomez and others.
Free The Children describes itself as part of a family of organizations, including Me to We and We Day, that has a shared goal: to empower a generation to shift the world from ‘me’ to ‘we’—through how young people act, give of themselves, the choices they make on what to buy and wear, and the experiences in which they choose to engage.
Greear said her mother, Paula Thornton, has inspired her to go out and help change the world.
“Ever since I can remember she has reminded me just how big the world is and has strongly encouraged me to educate myself and strive to make a difference in the world,” Greear said. “She is not afraid to stand up for the rights and wellbeing of everyone and will always defend what is right. She has given me the courage to stay strong despite those who may try to knock me down.”