Teen change-makers on display during the annual WE Day Special, tonight on ABC7

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Emily Nelson, 15, wants the world to know that young people are powerful.

Emily Nelson, 15, wants the world to know that young people are powerful.

"I think stereotypes are one of the most dangerous forms of mental attack," she said. "I think our political society and our socio-economic society is perpetuating these stereotypes and I feel the best way to change the world is to break those stereotypes for everyone. The one I am trying to focus on is that young people can't do anything."

Nelson, going into her sophomore year at Morgan Park High School in Beverly, is part of the WE Community, a charity and movement that seeks to direct young people and help them create change.

The WE Community was founded in the 1990s by Canadian brothers Craig and Mark Kielberger. Its original mission was to fight for children's rights. Since then it has grown into a movement that brings together "shamelessly idealistic" young people across North America, as the organization puts it.

The community hosts volunteering days across the continent. Nelson attended WE Day in Chicago last April.

"Being with all those kids and knowing the difference we could all make and knowing that it wasn't just in Chicago - there were WE days in Minneapolis, Canada - and seeing all that and knowing that this generation can make a change in the world was truly inspiring," Nelson said.

Aided by corporate help, including Allstate Foundation's WE Volunteer Now, she and her classmates reached out to hundreds of homeless people through the shelter system, creating care packages and momentum for change.

"I feel a lot of times the media paints a picture of the Millennial generation or Gen Z as obsessed with ourselves, technology, but when you see what kids my age are doing, it is a much different story and you can actually get to see what we are trying to do in the world and help us accomplish that," she said.

Stories like Nelson's will be featured tonight on the WE Day Special on ABC.
Related Topics:
community-eventsvolunteerismteenagersChicagoBeverly
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