The Kielburgers go pop on ‘Oprah,’ ‘Degrassi’ and ‘eTalk’
Tyrone Warner, CTV.ca
Free the Children founders Marc and Craig Kielburger are taking their humanitarian mission to the mainstream with back-to-back-to-back TV appearances on “Oprah,” “Degrassi: The Next Generation” and “eTalk.”
Even though Craig Kielburger, 25, is a veteran public speaker, he admits to being jittery ahead of “Oprah.”.
“I was extremely nervous while I was sitting in the audience,” Kielburger says in an interview with CTV.ca. “But it’s an amazing opportunity to get our message out to millions and millions of people around the world.”
Free The Children helps establish innovative education and development programs in more than 45 countries. Kielburger founded Free the Children in 1995 at the age of 12.
Kielburger’s appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” will air on Monday, May 26, and will officially launch the “O Ambassadors” project, a partnership between Free the Children and “Oprah’s Angel Network.”
Oprah’s giving a boost to Free the Children by launching “O Ambassador” clubs in schools from coast to coast.
The clubs will take part in fundraising and awareness events, and “galvanize an entire generation across North America,” says Kielburger.
According to the Thornhill, Ontario native, the difference between this project and other humanitarian groups is simple: “Most organizations just ask for money, but we’re asking people to get engaged and involve their daily lives.”
Some “O Ambassador” projects include:
- Building a package of school supplies for a classroom in need
- Planting a tree on school grounds
- Creating “AIDS Awareness” posters
- Organizing “Read-A-Thons”
- Collecting old blankets and sleeping bags for local homeless shelters
Joining Kielburger and his brother on the show are 12 student representatives from across North America who have recently joined the program.
Kielburger hopes that youths tuning into the program will be encouraged by seeing kids their own age involved with humanitarian projects.
“With Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan on nearly every screen, it’s a nice change to instead see Canadian students doing something positive in their community and giving back,” says Kielburger. “We see too few human rights activists.”
Before appearing that day on “Oprah,” the Kielburgers will take the spotlight in a special edition of eTalk, where they will join student leaders from across Canada and chat about their initiative. The special edition of eTalk airs on Monday at 10 a.m.
In addition to “Oprah” and “eTalk,” Free the Children will also be a part of Monday night’s “Degrassi” storyline.
The episode will focus on Anya (Samantha Munro), who is organizing the school’s first “Free the Children Freedom Fast” to promote education and health in Africa. Craig will make a special cameo in the episode.
Last summer the cast and crew of “Degrassi” took part in a Free the Children fundraiser, and helped to build a school for children in Kenya.
Kielburger was named to the Order of Canada in April 2008. His latest book, “Me to We,” co-authored with his brother, is a New York Times bestseller.