Celebrities surprising unsuspecting kids is a pretty reliable source of humor and/or adorability. But when those kids are young activists working to do good in their communities…well, your heart just might explode.
Some context: Every year, WE, a family of organizations dedicated to “making doing good doable,” presents the WE Day Special, a televised, star-studded event celebrating efforts to make a difference. Kids can earn tickets to the special by participating in WE Schools, a service-learning program that challenges and empowers students to address issues like hunger, poverty, and access to education.
In EW’s exclusive video above, Selena Gomez surprises a group of these youngsters as they explain the initiatives that earned them tickets, gifting the kids with VIP passes and provoking shocked gasps (and one heart-meltingly adorable handshake). Gomez, incidentally, has strong ties with WE, having hosted the WE Day Special multiple times.
This year’s broadcast, sponsored by The Allstate Foundation, Walgreens, and Microsoft, will feature quite the lineup of celebrity guests and performers. The roster includes Gomez, Mahershala Ali, Chance the Rapper, Pentatonix, Bill Nye, Joe Jonas, and Natalie Portman, among others, along with Neil Patrick Harris hosting. The special seeks to inspire and motivate viewers by showing how they can be a force for change in the world.
“I am so inspired by the people who are celebrated in this year’s show for making an impact in their communities and beyond. As a dad of two young children, I want my kids to grow up in a kinder, more compassionate world, and people like them are making that possible,” Harris said in a statement.
The 2019 WE Day Special airs Friday, Aug. 9 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.