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Speaking at We Day by Oliver Baker

Oliver Baker on stage giving speech on We Day

“On October 15th, I had the amazing opportunity to speak at a mini We Day held at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium in Halifax. It was an amazing experience. I got to inspire others that anything is possible, even for someone with a disability. I had been really nervous the day before and before I went on stage, but once I got on and started talking, nothing mattered, I knew my speech and nothing could stop me. A thousand people staring at me, listening to me, to my story and what I had to say. It’s a cool thing to think about. Afterwards, I got lots of people telling me I did a good job and asking about 10 in 10 or me having a hearing aid. A few people said that I was their favorite speaker. It really meant a lot and I thanked them all.“

Oliver’s Speech from WE Day on October 15, 2018

Everyone knows middle school is one of the times in your life where you have the most pressure to fit in and that means being like everyone else. But honestly, that never really worked for me.

My name is Oliver Baker, I'm a grade 8 student from Kentville, NS, and I've always been a little different from everyone else. I was born with hearing loss in my left ear, so I’ve had to wear a hearing aid since I was 2. It never stopped me from doing anything though, I thought it was cool to have technology in my ear.

I’m here to talk to you about why it’s important to walk your own path and be true to your own self. This is my last year in middle school, and I want to share with you the big lessons I’ve learned along the way.

Be the kid who is kind to everyone, always! Dare to break from the pack and stand up against bullying. I know what it’s like to be the victim, to feel that there is no one there to support you. It’s hard. But what helped me were the friends who stood by my side last year. I need you to be that friend!

Find an issue that you are passionate about and get involved. This summer, I came up with an idea for a movement called 10 in 10. I challenged everyone to pick up 10 pieces of plastic in 10 minutes anytime they are outside in nature, especially near waterways. I’m hoping this idea goes a long way in changing behaviours around the use of disposable plastic. Already there are schools in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and the Annapolis Valley who participated in this project.

This idea was only possible because I kept telling myself I could make a difference! Don't let people tell you you’re just a kid. We are the future generation! We are the ones making a difference!

I truly believe that if you walk your own path and stay true to yourself you will be able to look back on your middle school years knowing that you were the best you that you could possibly be.

Let me leave with the wise words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, ‘The worst thing I can be is the same as everyone else.’

Thank you

More on 10 in 10

Oliver Baker on a beach with plastic that he has gathered up10 in 10 is a project to pick up 10 pieces of plastic in 10 minutes on October 10th. By removing plastic from the places that we see it, we are raising awareness about our use of disposable plastics, the amount of plastic in our oceans and what actions can be taken by all communities. The idea is supported across the Gulf of Maine by teachers and educators in Nova Scotia and in New England. The purpose is to create opportunities for community stewards to gather plastic and generate awareness about the use of disposable plastics and where it all ends up. By picking up 10 pieces of plastic in 10 minutes, people will be made more aware of the problems plastic are making and will want to do something about it.

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