We Day celebrates altruistic service of a younger generation

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KTVU) -- A day designed to recognize young people for their service towards both local and global causes, We Day California gathered 16,000 students and teachers at the SAP Center in San Jose Wednesday to salute their good deeds.

The children from more than 600 schools across the state and the country participated in a myriad of projects, everything from exploring environmental sustainability to trying to reduce high school drop-out rates to numerous global initiatives raising funds for needy communities.

KTVU was a proud sponsor of the event for the second consecutive year.

On Wednesday, SAP Center was transformed into the worlds coolest classroom.

Every single person in attendance earned the right to be there.

"There are about 200,000 students in California involved in this program. One in ten get a chance to come to We Day, so this is this coveted ticket," said event founder Craig Kielburger

The We Day event was a celebration of commitment and service.

Grammy-winning singer Colbie Callait came for her third We Day. She said she hopes her music teaches kids about acceptance.

"These kids are getting so involved in making the world better and make a change," said Callait. "To be awkward and weird and different, that is amazing!"

Singer Joe Jonas noted that on We Day, inspiration is a two-way street.

"It's tough to say you can inspire them, because these kids are living their dream and loving it," said Jonas.

Those who came to speak at the event came with a message.

"Kids are smart, as we know, and kids are going to be able to say are you pulling our chain are you being honest with us what's going on," said veteran J.R. Martinez.

Many shared their own story.

"Without science, they would never have been able to diagnose my legs and take them off and help me get around better," said motivational speaker and We Day ambassador Spencer West.

"As I said, it's okay to be you. That's the most important thing. Really make decisions that hopefully make a little common sense," said Academy Award winning actress Marlee Maitlin.

Organizers said their hope is that these children who gave much to be at We Day will also leave with something.