SEATTLE -- They have a Golden Globe award, a Lombardi trophy, and a few Grammy nominations between them; and, for one day only, they were the star power behind a special show – for 15,000 screaming young fans.
“I think God’s given us the ability to play the game of football, but he’s also given us the ability to influence people,” said Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. “They influence us, really – this many kids who’ve done a lot of great things in their life.”
Wilson was among those in an all-star lineup Friday at the second-annual "We Day" at Seattle’s KeyArena. The day-long event to reward schoolkids for community service – and to inspire them to continue on their mission – featured Academy Award-nominated actor Edward Norton, singers Joe Jonas and Cody Simpson, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, players Derrick Coleman, Jermaine Kearse, Bobby Wagner, and others.
“I know a lot of famous people who have all kinds of opportunity, all kinds of resources, who haven’t done one-third of the inspiring actions that you guys did to get here today,” Norton told the crowd. “You are cooler than any movie star or sports god or rock star."
Best known for his roles in "Fight Club" and "American History X," Norton started CrowdRise, a crowd-funding website for social causes, three years ago. He said joining ‘We Day’ seemed like a natural transition.
“These things are going to allow a new generation to have a new relationship to causes,” Norton said. “What ('We Day' is) really doing is tuning kids in at an even earlier age than certainly our generation to the idea they have power.”
Bellevue High School seniors Will Calhoun and Reid Douglas were among those in the crowd. Calhoun said teenagers at his school regularly give up pocket change to benefit local charities.
“Instead of going out to lunch on a Wednesday, they’ll donate their lunch money to New Horizons,” Calhoun said.
“We had a huge fundraiser – a coin drive to build an entire school in Haiti,” added Douglas.
More than 450 schools from around the Northwest participated this year. The event was created by Canadian charity Free the Children in 1995, and is co-sponsored by Microsoft and Allstate.
Rap star Flo Rida, who performed four songs at the end of the event, said he was fortunate to have role models to help him dream big. He hoped to impart that upon the crowd.
“I was inspired to the late great, Reggie White. He came to my projects,” the musician said .”That stuck with me. The fact that they told me: you know, we’re just human beings. We work hard, believe in God, and things like that. It stuck with me.”