Good evening, I'm Scott Pelley and this is 60 Minutes Presents.
There's no age requirement when it comes to talent, initiative or ability. And over the years, 60 Minutes has encountered some amazing kids with amazing gifts in the most unlikely places. Tonight, we revisit three of them, beginning with a story that Morley Safer reported in October about a very young scientist investigating pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most aggressive and deadly cancers, in part because often by the time it is diagnosed the disease has spread to other parts of the body. So when news broke that a test had been developed that might detect early pancreatic cancer, the research world not only took notice, it went into shock for the test hadn't been developed by some renowned cancer research institute, but by a boy wonder, a 15-year-old high school freshman named Jack Andraka. He then convinced an eminent cancer researcher to let him use his lab to develop his theory -- all before he even had a license to drive.
And while the test must undergo years of clinical trials -- the biotech industry has already beaten a path to Jack's door.
Boy WonderThis is Jack Andraka as he beats out 1,500 contestants and wins the grand prize at the Intel International Science Fair with his invention. Like a modern day Rocky, this self-described science geek took the stage and $100,000 in prize money. Pure, unadulterated, adolescent joy.
To learn more about pancreatic
cancer, go to Pancreatic
Cancer Action Network
Morley Safer: When you won the Intel Award-- your reaction went viral on the Internet, correct?
Jack Andraka: Yes, yes, it did.
Morley Safer: It's a no-joke award.
Jack Andraka: I wasn't expecting any awards there. Then when I won, I was just flabbergasted. I was, like, freaking out. I was just like, "What?"
Morley Safer: Yes, you were.
Jack Andraka: "Me?"
Jack Andraka's journey from suburban Baltimore high school freshman to cancer researcher began at age 14 when a family friend died of pancreatic cancer. Shocked that there is no reliable early test for the disease, Jack decided he would develop one. He began probing the Internet for everything he could find about pancreatic cancer biomarkers. He read research articles during class and in the middle of biology while stealthily reading a medical journal he says inspiration hit. The teacher was not amused.
Jack Andraka: I swear, she has, like, eyes on the back of her head or something. She sees me. And she storms up to my desk and is like, "Mr. Andraka, what is this?" and, like, snatches it out of my hand.
Morley Safer: As if you had Playboy Magazine right?
Jack Andraka: Yeah, yeah. I'm just like-- it was just a science article. Shouldn't this be a good thing?
When he told his parents Steve and Jane Andraka about his project they weren't exactly encouraging.
Steve Andraka: My reaction wasn't a good one. I sa-- I s-- "Jack, isn't that a little far-fetched?
Jane Andraka: And I know that when you're 14 you can't just run out and get a lab. A lot of people, you know, are like, "We don't train middle schoolers."
But Jack decided to find one that did. Over the course of four months he prepared a test protocol for his theory and sent it out to 200 cancer researchers.
Jack Andraka: I essentially had to send them my budget, my procedure, my timeline and materials list. And I actually got 199 rejections out of those. Some professors ripped apart my procedure completely. But one professor, Dr. Anirban Maitra, finally said yes.
Morley Safer: An encouraging yes?
Jack Andraka: It was like, "This idea might work." And he starts interrogating me kind of firing questions, trying to sink my procedure in a way. But I answered all of them.
"I essentially had to
send them my budget, my procedure, my timeline and materials list. And I
actually got 199 rejections out of those. Some professors ripped apart my
procedure completely. But one professor, Dr. Anirban Maitra, finally said yes."
Dr. Anirban Maitra was a professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins University and now heads pancreatic cancer research at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He says his curiosity was piqued by Jack's proposal.
Dr. Anirban Maitra: Well, it's not every day that you get an email from a 15 year old that comes with a detailed protocol with methods and supplies and what pitfalls you might run into, and I said, "Maybe I'll get you a corner in my lab and we'll have one of the post doctoral fellows supervising you. Let's see where all this all goes."
For the next seven months after school and on weekends, Jack's mother would drop him off at the lab where he learned basic lab techniques and worked on developing his cancer test.
Jack Andraka: Finally, one day in March, I realized this was actually working. Like, it was working amazingly. Because it was passing all of these preliminary tests. And I run out and pretty much, like, screaming around the lab. I finally go out and rush into my mom's car. And, like, me and her are screaming in the car. And then, of course, I have school the next day.
Jack's test detects an unusually high level of mesothelin, a protein that the body produces in pancreatic cancer's early -- and most treatable -- stage.
Morley Safer: What exactly are you doing now?
Jack Andraka: So essentially what this is, is it's one of my strips and what you do is you first get an original measurement of how the electricity flows across it.
The paper strip is coated with a carbon substance that attracts mesothelin. It is placed in an apparatus that Jack built in his parents' garage.
Jack Andraka: And I'm just taking out one single drop of blood here.
A high level of mesothelin in a patient's blood sample may indicate the first stages of pancreatic cancer.
Jack Andraka: See how it's increased? It's increased by about two times here. And so what that means is that there's a really high level of this one protein there and that signals the presence of pancreatic cancer for me.
While years of clinical trials must be done, there is no FDA approved test that can reliably measure mesothelin. Dr. Maitra says a test of this kind that could detect pancreatic cancer in its earliest stage could save thousands of lives.
Dr. Anirban Maitra: He did hone into the most important missing aspect in terms of pancreatic cancer, which is we don't really have good early detection. There is nothing like a PSA test or a colonoscopy or a mammogram that you can get for the pancreas at this point in time. So by the time the majority of patients present, they already have tumor that has spread outside the pancreas. And those patients typically don't do very well.
He says the test -- which costs Jack three cents a strip to make -- is remarkably elegant in its simplicity.
Morley Safer: It's remarkable what you've achieved and kind of what you've come up with. It's no question. Have the brain men come to talk to you and want to figure you out?
Jack Andraka: No, actually, no one has approached me to do, like, an autopsy of my brain yet. But--
Morley Safer: --a scan, shall we say.
Jack Andraka: A scan. But, like, maybe later on an autopsy. But really I don't think it's that I'm really smart. I mean, I know people that are way smarter than me. You can be a genius, but if you don't have the creativity to put that knowledge to use, then you just have a bunch of knowledge and nothing else. I mean, like, then you're just as good as my smartphone.
His parents say he has been obsessed with science since he was a toddler, conducting experiments even as a 3- year-old. School for him was so easy his parents tried to keep him engaged by encouraging science projects at home.
Jack Andraka: My family isn't the typical family. Like, we're-- instead of, like, talking about football, we have, like, all these science magazines all scattered throughout our house. And we talk about them at dinner.
After Jack decided to cultivate E. coli just for the fun of it on the kitchen stove, his parents insisted that he and his older brother, Luke, use the basement as their lab. Their parents believe the less they know about what goes on down there the better.
Morley Safer: I gather the rule of the house is don't burn down the house and don't kill yourself?
Steve Andraka: Pretty much. It's don't blow up the house. I want to come home and have a place to live.
Morley Safer: What do they do down there?
Jane Andraka: I don't really know 'cause I don't go down there much.
And they may have reason for concern.
Morley Safer: Clearly neatness does not count.
Last year, Luke cooked up some nitroglycerin just to see if he could.
Luke Andraka: And I was just interested to see could I make it down here? And it worked.
It also drew the attention of the FBI who they say sent a letter letting them know that their Internet purchasing history had been noted by the feds.
Luke Andraka: They were a little concerned.
Morley Safer: I don't know why I'm laughing.
But these days Jack doesn't have much time for messing in the basement. His test idea has made him a star speaker at medical conferences all over the world.
[Jack Andraka: So, with me I just used Google and Wikipedia to find a new way to attack pancreatic cancer. At the beginning of this I didn't even know I had a pancreas. So if I could do that...(laughter)]
And he's become a regular at the White House -- four visits this year alone.
[President Obama: Where's Jack? There he is...Jack stand up.]
Morley Safer: You've also become a heavy-duty celebrity?
Jack Andraka: It's pretty insane. I mean, you see Barack Obama.
Morley Safer: President Barack Obama.
Jack Andraka: Yeah, President Barack Obama. I'm just like, "Hello, Mr. President." And then, "Hello, First Lady." It's just like it's crazy.
In the past year he has spoken in Canada, Italy, Australia, Greece, the United Nations and so far four trips to England.
[Jack Andraka in London: Earlier this year...]
Including this address he gave to the renowned Royal Society of Medicine about his test and the problems with current cancer diagnostics.
[Jack Andraka: I type this into the Internet...]
This 15-year-old has all the confidence of a physician.
Jack Andraka: And what it comes up with is I could be going through cocaine withdrawal, I have cancer or I could be pregnant. So...
A stand-up physician.
[Jack Andraka: So, what I see in the future of medical diagnostics is a shift from the symptom base to more of a diagnostic antibodies based approach, such as a sensor.]
Working the crowds of academics and checking out Cambridge University. No big deal.
Jane Andraka: Could you study here?
Jack Andraka: Yes.
Jack easily maintains a 4.0 GPA in school despite a spotty attendance record.
Morley Safer: You're still in high school, correct?
Jack Andraka: Yeah.
Morley Safer: Why bother?
Jack Andraka: Well, the reason I still bother with high school is because of my mom. She really, like, "You have to do high school and you have to go to college." but they're being kind of lenient with me right now.
Jane Andraka: Who wants tea...?
Jack's family is pretty laid back about his success. Low pressure, and a high sense of humor.
Morley Safer: They say that, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." And it seems that you've been doing all work.
Jack Andraka: Well, I would say all play no work. Because for me going to the lab is pretty much play, I mean, it's the funnest thing ever.
Jack holds the patent on his cancer test and with the help of his patent lawyer is looking to license the technology to a pharmaceutical company in the next few months.
Morley Safer: Now, the actual testing on people or animals, I gather you're not interested in doing that?
Jack Andraka: So I did some preliminary studies, however one thing I don't wanna do is end up as a lab rat. I kind of want to be able to come up with a new idea and then really just move on to the next idea, and have other people do the repetitive trials.
Morley Safer: Well, where does that stand right now?
Jack Andraka: I have enough data to prove that this works, and so now I'm going to give it to the pharmaceutical companies to run it through, like, clinical trials and stuff.
He believes that one day his invention will be in every doctor's office and even on pharmacy shelves. But Dr. Maitra -- who has seen so many promising ideas flame out when it comes to pancreatic cancer --urges caution.
Dr. Anirban Maitra: Pancreatic cancer is a very humbling disease. Every time we think we have a homerun, we barely get to first base. As a test, it is still a very long way off and the reason for that is because such a test cannot be marketed unless it has been validated in large clinical trials. And that cannot be done in a small lab. That cannot be done by a 15-year-old, but that does not detract in any way from the remarkable achievement of this young man. I think he is brilliant.
[Jack Andraka, TED conference: I was sitting in class and suddenly it hit me.]
Between speaking engagements and the occasional appearance at school, Jack is back in the lab working on new diagnostic and environmental tests. And while he now moves in very adult circles, Jack says when it comes to his future he is just like any other lost teenager.
Jack Andraka: I actually have no clue what I want to do when I grow up. I mean hopefully something in science I'll be in. And hopefully I'll be doing work that will help change the world.
The Mozart of Chess
Magnus Carlsen is the best in the world. He is a 23-year-old Norwegian who reigns supreme in a sport that is played by 500 million people. It is chess. Many people don't think of it as a sport because its players don't move very much. But chess masters will tell you it can be more brutal than boxing. That's because, at the championship level, the objective is not just to win, but to demolish your opponent. That can take hours. The best players need extraordinary endurance, so most of them are young. Magnus was a child prodigy, he became a grandmaster at the age of 13 and then became the youngest player ever to be ranked No. 1 in the world. And yet, as Bob Simon first reported two years ago, if you ask him to explain how he does what he does, Magnus will tell you he can't. It seems to come from some other world, which is why he's known as the Mozart of chess.
Just look at what he is doing: competing against 10 players simultaneously. That, in itself, is not extraordinary. But Magnus cannot see the boards. He is facing the other way. So he has to keep track of the positions of 320 pieces blind. And the number of possible moves? Infinite. Magnus comes out on top.
Bob Simon: That's the most amazing thing I've ever seen. Do you have any idea how extraordinary this looks to--
Magnus Carlsen: No. It's one of the amazing things in chess that you can-- you don't really need the board. You can just keep it--
Bob Simon: But it transcends chess. I mean, I just can't fathom what you've just done. It's just--
Magnus Carlsen: Uh-huh (affirm).
Simon: --it seems like it's supernatural.
caught up with him at the London Chess Classic in 2011. He arrives with
his constant companion, his father. Magnus will play against eight other
top-ranked players. But he is the star as celebrated in this world as Eli
Manning is in his.
[Malcolm Pein: The world number one player from Norway, Magnus Carlsen.]
Today, Magnus is playing America's number one, Hikaru Nakamura. The match will last four hours and there will be no breaks. Magnus will go on a stroll now and then. But his mind won't be going anywhere. He says he's concentrating not only on this game, but on other games played by other masters at other times which he might want to draw on now. Ten thousand of them. We gave him a test.
Magnus Carlsen: It was played right here in London. Simpson's on the Strand in 1859. I don't know the month or day.
Simon: You got it wrong.
Magnus Carlsen: Not '59?
Magnus Carlsen: Wow.
Simon: You see, mem-- your memory isn't--
Magnus Carlsen: It's not what it used to be.
Chess players are pretty pokerfaced. But occasionally Magnus will flash the smile of someone who knows it's all over but the handshake while Nakamura dives deeper into doom. Magnus was playing brilliantly and he knew it.
Simon: Is there anything in life more satisfying than that feeling when you're playing brilliantly?
Magnus Carlsen: I don't know. But it's really, you know, up there.
Simon: It's pretty good.
Magnus Carlsen: Yes.
The spectators seem as mesmerized as the competitors. They're all chess players, of course. If they weren't, it would be like watching paint dry. Worldwide, a hundred thousand are watching on their computers. The suspense keeps building until end game by which time, it's cutthroat.
Simon: Do you enjoy it when you see your opponent squirm?
Magnus Carlsen: Yes. I do. I enjoy it when I see my opponent, you know, really suffering when he knows that I've outsmarted him. If I lose just one game, then usually, you know, I just want to really get revenge.
Simon: This is war, isn't it?
Magnus Carlsen: Yeah, yeah.
For 50 years, chess was war. It was
a battleground in the Cold War with the Russians who were dominant. But then an
American came along. His name was Bobby Fischer. In 1972, he took on the
Russian champion Boris Spassky and he won. It was an international spectacle.
it when I see my opponent, you know, really suffering when he knows that I've
outsmarted him. If I lose just one game, then usually, you know, I just want to
really get revenge."
And the enthusiasm has not waned. Back in London, just down the corridor from where Magnus is playing, 500 novices are learning how to master kings and queens.
Simon: Do you ever play any grownups?
Kid #1: Yes. Yep, I do play grownups. In fact, I'm getting the hang of playing grownups.
Simon: Who's your favorite chess player?
Kid #1: Bobby Fischer.
Simon: Bobby Fischer?
Kid #1: Yeah.
Kid #2: And I like Magnus Carlsen.
Simon: You like Magnus!
Kid #2: Yeah.
Chess is now routinely taught in schools all over the world, including the United States. In some countries it is compulsory.
Chess can be taught, but not genius. Magnus seemed like a normal enough kid growing up outside Oslo, but wait a minute when he was five he could name almost all the countries in the world and their capitals and their populations.
Magnus's father, Henrik, didn't think that was terribly unusual.
Henrik Carlsen: He did have a good memory and the ability to concentrate for hours at the time on the specific topic. And he seemed to be interested in a lot of things. New things all the time. But I thought that was normal.
What got him into chess? Sibling rivalry. His older sister started to play so he wanted to beat her. Which he did, quickly.
Then he started winning tournaments. Before long, he became a celebrity, one of the first Norwegians to excel in a sport that did not involve snow.
People lined up in shopping malls to play him. When he won, Magnus said it was just a game, no big deal. He couldn't understand why people were making such a fuss.
[Magnus Carlsen: Why does - why do all people want to talk to little me?]
Magnus's parents took him and his sisters out of school for a year, rented out their house, sold their car. It was part holiday, mostly chess. They went to Reykjavik, Iceland which is where Magnus took a leap into legend when he was matched against Garry Kasparov, the Russian, considered by many to be the greatest ever. And how did Magnus prepare? By reading up.
Kasparov kept the 13-year-old kid waiting for half an hour and when he did arrive, he didn't even say hello.
It was speed chess, the formula one of the sport, a race against the clock.
Kasparov started slow. Magnus started getting bored.
Magnus Carlsen: I sat there for a few seconds and then I thought to myself, "You know what? I don't know why he's thinking. But I know what my response is going to be anyway. So I'll just walk off and watch the other games."
Kasparov had never played anyone so young. But he did not exude confidence or happiness. And he did not win. Magnus played him to a draw. It was a sensation. Kasparov left quickly. No "nice game, kid." Nothing.
How did Magnus react? Guess. He thought he had blown it.
Magnus Carlsen: When I actually got to winning position I had little time, I was nervous, and I couldn't finish him off.
Simon: Why were you nervous?
Magnus Carlsen: I was playing Kasparov. I was intimidated.
Simon: You were intimidated by playing the world's champion when you were already 13 years old?
Magnus Carlsen: Yeah. Go figure.
It warranted a celebration, of course, and Magnus got to choose.
Magnus Carlsen: Yes. I went to my family-- I went with my family and had some ice cream at McDonald's.
By the time he was nineteen, the boy with the ice cream had become number one in the world.
Frederic Friedel: He has a very deep understanding of chess.
Frederic Friedel's company, Chess Base, publishes the world's most popular chess program.
Simon: Is this an indication of genius?
Friedel: Of genius and raw talent. Now, Magnus has-- still hasn't reached his peak. He hasn't really worked yet.
Simon: I've heard him described as lazy, which I find quite extraordinary.
Friedel: I mean, that's an impolite term, but it's probably appropriate.
Except when he's not. Magnus plays soccer whenever he can break away from the board, he's got a mean backhand and he is also moonlighting as a model. There's never been much money in chess, but Magnus is changing that. Sponsors are lining up to endorse him. He's making about a million and a half dollars a year.
But it's a solitary life. Magnus is on the road two hundred days a year now. Between matches he is alone in his hotel room getting ready for tomorrow's game. He works out almost every day...knows he can't concentrate for what's often seven hours unless he's in shape. Magnus says he wouldn't be able to tolerate this life if it weren't for his father who is always there for him.
Simon: When you travel with Magnus, what's your role?
Henrik Carlsen: I'm a servant. And a chess fan.
Simon: You enjoy the games?
Henrik Carlsen: Yes.
And so, he says, does Magnus.
Simon: Boy, when you look at him, when I look at him, "enjoyment" is not the word that comes to mind.
Henrik Carlsen: It should. Maybe you have to compare it to a writer or a painter. I mean, probably if you see them at work, they're not smiling or having an easy time. They're exploiting their mind to the utmost. And the same with the chess players.
But that level of concentration is not danger free. A fair number of grandmasters have gone mad, which is what happened to Bobby Fischer in his later years.
Simon: Do you ever think about that?
Magnus Carlsen: Yes. I do. And that's you know, when I was watching the recent film about Bobby Fischer I was thinking, you know, is this going to be me in a few years? I don't think that's going to happen. But, you know, it made me think a little bit that, you know, I have to be aware of this, at least.
Simon: People have described you as the Mozart of Chess. How do you react to that?
Magnus Carlsen: Yeah. Maybe. But was Mozart ever asked how he does this? I don't-- I would be very impressed if he had a good answer to that. Because I think what he would say is that just-- it just comes natural to me. It's what I do.
"...when I was watching the recent film about Bobby Fischer I was
thinking, you know, is this going to be me in a few years? I don't think that's
going to happen. But, you know, it made me think a little bit that, you know, I
have to be aware of this, at least."
Simon: Which is what you say?
Magnus Carlsen: Yeah.
It's what he does for fun, too. . .at the Oslo chess club where he started. He is playing a Norwegian grandmaster here. It's called Bullet chess and Magnus has a handicap. His opponent is given three minutes to make his moves. Magnus has one. It's just a friendly match. But Magnus always hates to lose so he doesn't.
Simon: You got him?
Magnus Carlsen: Yeah, I got him.Magnus Carlsen is now the highest rated chess player of all time and, last November, he won the world chess championship, the first Westerner to have done so since American Bobby Fischer in 1972.
Children Helping Children
Some people devote their lives to causes greater than themselves. And for many that devotion comes late in life. But Craig Kielburger discovered it early. He was in 7th grade when the death of a boy changed his life. It was a change so profound that, through Kielburger, it has now saved and transformed other lives all around the globe. In that moment, 19 years ago, Craig Kielburger was struck by a profound truth --something as important as changing the world can't be left to grown ups.
Craig Kielburger: Kids are looking to get involved. They're searching for it. And in an era where, you know adults often are looking for meaning and purpose in their lives, kids also want to assert who they are, not just by the videogames they play or the peer groups they belong to, but by the contribution they make. And that's part of a youth self-identity in the world. And not only is it good for the child, my God, our world needs it.
For information on Free The Children, click here
Craig Kielburger was a child when he noticed the needs of the world. As a 12-year-old in Canada he read about the murder of a boy his age in Pakistan. Iqbal Masih was a slave in a carpet factory. Masih escaped to lead a campaign against servitude. But within two years he was silenced. Kielburger put down the newspaper and rose to speak.
"Kids are looking
to get involved. They're searching for it. And in an era where, you know adults
often are looking for meaning and purpose in their lives, kids also want to
assert who they are, not just by the videogames they play or the peer groups
they belong to, but by the contribution they make."
Craig Kielburger: We're talking about labor and the exploitation of children.
He made Iqbal Masih's fight, his own. He talked to classmates, to Congress, to Parliament. To call him "precocious" is an understatement as our own Ed Bradley found out in 1996.
Ed Bradley: But what made you think you could do something about it?
Craig Kielburger: Originally, I didn't think I could, really. But the only way we're going to ever find out is try. So after doing some research, I just walked to my classmates and said, "Listen, I read this article. Here's a problem. This is what I know" -- which at that point was not very much -- and asked, 'Who wants to help?'
Turned out 11 friends wanted to help. With no money to start with, no wealthy parents or early backers, they met in his living room and started a charity called Free The Children.
[Ed Bradley: Why you?
Craig Kielburger: Why not? If everyone in the world could say, "Why me?" -- then nothing ever would be accomplished. Why me? Because I've met those children. Because I've seen them. Because I read the story of Iqbal Masih. Why not me?]
In the 1990's, Kielburger wanted to free children from slavery. So he went to Asia recruiting activists and government authorities to bust child sweatshops and sex traffickers. There were early successes. But, when we went overseas with Kielburger, he told us freeing children was much more complicated than he had first imagined.
Scott Pelley: What are some of the things that didn't work out? What have you learned?
Craig Kielburger: You know, probably the lowest moment ever was the first time in Southeast Asia, when we met children who we had freed before who are back in slavery. To see that some of those same kids would end up back in the same grinding, backbreaking, desperate poverty, there is nothing that makes your heart fall more than that.
Kids he freed were being pulled back into servitude, years later, by centuries old culture and traditions shaped by poverty and illiteracy.
Scott Pelley: At the point that you saw that your original big idea wasn't working, why didn't you throw in the towel?
Craig Kielburger: There were points frankly where there was a frustration, anger and maybe a slight desire to throw in the towel, but never a consideration of it seriously. Because that first trip I took before I sat down with Ed Bradley and that first 60 Minutes episode that was a turning point in our lives. That first trip, I made promises to a lot of kids there that at that time there was almost nothing that Free the Children could do in practice. We didn't have schools and projects and offices around the world. And the only thing I could promise them at that point was that I would share their stories with whoever would listen. And I just wouldn't give up. And when you make a promise, you have to fulfill it.
The way to keep that promise, he
decided, was to attack hardship and ignorance — the very roots of slavery.
Today, Free the Children’s work can be seen in 45 countries. A $40 million a year charity building
schools, providing clean water, and connecting local craftsmen to world
markets—where their traditions bring in good money. There are two million volunteers nearly all of them under the age of 18.
Craig Kielburger: So Free the Children today is the world's largest network of children helping children. So what that means in practice is we inspire kids. Then we give them all the tools they need to learn about these issues: speaking tours, summer leadership camps, curriculum every week. Our bet that we're making is if you give kids the inspiration and the tools to change the world, it'll change their own lives also in the process. And the ripple effect is incredible.
[Volunteer: Are we ready for We Day?
Kids: We are.]
You can feel that ripple in the Free the Children celebrations that Kielberger calls "We Day." He does as many as 13 of these a year and when we came to this one in Vancouver there were 20,000 kids.We Day's feature acts like Nelly Furtado, Jennifer Hudson, and lectures by activists including Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu. But listen to what happens when Kielburger takes the stage.
Craig Kielburger: We Day isn't just a day. We Day is a movement. A movement that happens all year long.
Kielburger is joined on stage every We Day by his older brother Marc, who manages the financial side of Free The Children.
Marc Kielburger: Just like you coming together and taking action.
Scott Pelley: When we see in the stadium all those faces of all those kids, how did they get there?
Craig Kielburger: You can't buy a ticket to We Day. Any kid can earn their way in for whatever cause they care about. Half local, half global. And they're there. These are kids who have done, you know, bake sales and car washes and volunteered at retirement homes and local support lines and they've started their own charities and when they leave, they bring that inspiration. We Day is just the beginning.
[Kids: I need the one with the chocolate chips...]
We followed that bake sale money back to St. Ann's school in Bridgeport, Conn. Free The Children recruits through schools, almost turning them into chapters of the global organization.
Scott Pelley: There is so much trouble in the world.
Magdalena Dutkowska: Yes.
When we met 11-year-old, Magdalena Dutkowska and 12-year-old Joey Hopkins, they were headed to Kenya, inspired by their first We Day.
Magdalena Dutkowska: We Day is like the biggest thing in the world, it's like the greatest event that could ever happen and so it's just all these important people coming to one day to one event to talk about how we can change the world.
Craig Kielburger: When a child donates their birthday money, there is an incredible responsibility that comes with that to make sure-- we have kids who have walked up to us and handed us a piggy bank. There is such a responsibility to make sure that money gets to where it's supposed to go.
Scott Pelley: When the bake sale money comes in and the piggy bank money comes in and you count that up, what's it come to?
Craig Kielburger: Well, you know, the average kid probably gives, you know, somewhere between one, maybe five, maybe $10-- over the course of a school. That's maybe $1,500 around--
Scott Pelley: So how do you save the world on that kind of money?
Craig Kielburger: Oh, that adds up to millions and millions of dollars. Tens upon tens of millions of dollars every year for our projects. A penny is almost like a kid. People walk past pennies all the time and ignore them, think they-- they're insignificant. Kind of like kids. You don't really think twice. Can they really make a difference? But when you bring enough young people, enough kids together, then suddenly those kids can change the world.
And this is one of the places that Kielburger set out to change, the Masaai Mara in Kenya. The Mara offers nearly every wonder of East Africa. The traditions of the Masaai people are rich but their access to water and education is among the poorest in the world.
Joey Hopkins and Magdalena Dutkowska raised enough money back in Connecticut to join other volunteers to build a new classroom here. Each year 2400 kids lend their hands overseas.
And over the last 12 years, 150 schools have been built in Kenya. This one was finished in 2010. Now, 190 students are enrolled. Among them Sharon, Naiomi, Faith and Marcella.Scott Pelley: Sharon, let me start with you. What does this school mean to you?
Sharon: It means a lot to me. Because, at first, I could not even talk to people like you now. I did not understand English well. But now, this school has helped me a lot to know more English and gain more confidence.
Scott Pelley: How long have you been in this school?
Sharon: One and a half years.
Scott Pelley: You've learned this much English in one and a half years?
Scott Pelley: That's amazing.
Scott Pelley: How many of you think you're going to go to university? Everybody.
And now a university education will be open to more students because after three weeks here, a new classroom was built by the kids of Free The Children. With two students at each desk this classroom will hold about 50.
At the end of the project, the Masaai honored Magdalena and Joey with a celebration and a traditional gift.
Joey Hopkins: I was just standing there with my goat that they gave me. I was just like, "Wow." Our like-- we did this and we gave this new education to these kids and now they are so grateful for it.
Scott Pelley: What are you going to do with the goat?
Joey Hopkins: Well, I haven't seen my goat in awhile, actually. So I miss it, but I'm going to have to leave it here in Kenya.
Scott Pelley: Leave it here? Don't you--
Joey Hopkins: Yeah.
Scott Pelley: --think your mother would like to have it back in Connecticut?
Joey Hopkins: I wish she would, but we can't even have a dog let alone a goat.
Scott Pelley: What are you gonna tell the kids back at school about the experience here? What do they need to know?
Joey Hopkins: What they need to know is that poverty is a real thing. And starve-- kids starving, like, that are five or four years old is a real thing. That not everyone in the world can just go downstairs, turn on the tap, and get a glass of water. And that not everyone has a proper education. And that you should really be thankful for the things you have.
By the time they cut the ribbon it was hard for us to figure which kids had gained the most. The Kenyans got a new classroom, but it was the American kids who learned, they can be the change in the world.