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WE Day: the 'Olympics for change makers'

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Amelia Yang at Northdale Middle School in June 2017.
Amelia Yang at Northdale Middle School in Coon Rapids, Minn., in June 2017. Yang is a local DHL Youth Volunteer Fellowship Award Winner and will be honored on stage at WE Day Minnesota on Wednesday.
Courtesy Kelly Tasche

An estimated 18,000 young people and educators will attend one of the world's largest youth empowerment events at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Wednesday.

"WE Day" aims to inspire young people to create change. Now in its 10th year, the event bills itself as the "Olympics for change makers." Speakers include journalist Ann Curry, singer Grace VanderWaal and artist Jessie Reyez. 

Amelia Yang, a 9th grader from Coon Rapids, will be honored at this year's event, along with four other students from across the country who received the first-ever DHL Youth Volunteer Fellowship Award. 

She said she became passionate about trying to end homelessness after seeing one of her classmates struggle with it.

"You hear about things like homelessness and hunger, and you don't really know what that's like until you see it in front of it or you experience it," said Yang. "I wasn't the one experiencing it but seeing it brought a passion out in me."

Yang's video project asked 300 people what brings them happiness during difficult times. 

Yang and the other winners traveled to Ecuador to develop leadership skills.