7:30 a.m., Sept. 26)
Joe Roberts brings 'Push for Change' message to Orléans
By Fred Sherwin
after 6 a.m. Monday morning, Joe Roberts set out from the
Shenkman Arts Centre with his slightly modified shopping
cart on the Ottawa leg of his "Push for Change"
trek across Canada.
Roberts walks past the Paroisse St-Joseph
church early Monday morning on the Orléans
leg of his 'Push for Change' trek across Canada.
him were a half dozen members of the Kiwanis Club of Orléans
which hosted a sleepout at the sKreamers Haunted Village
on the Proulx Farm in Cumberland on Saturday night attended
by about 150 youth, half of whom spent the night sleeping
on a cement floor in an unheated barn.
message is a simple one -- more needs to be done to prevent
youth homelessness in Canada and to provide resources
and support to those who believe they have no way back.
As for the shopping cart, it's symbolic of his own period
of homelessness and the fact that most people association
homelessness with a homeless person pushing a shopping
cart containing all their belongings..
set out on his cross-Canada journey 149 days and almost
3,000 km ago. He's passed through hundreds of towns and
cities spreading his message and raising hundeeds of thousands
of dollars. His goal is to raise 50 cents for every man,
woman and child in Canada, or about $17 million. Now that
he's in Ontario, he's hoping to kick start the fundraising
portion of the campaign starting in Ottawa.
sKreaners sleepout raised more than $1,000, but that was
secondary to the chance Roberts had to deliver his message
to the youth who attended the event.
an opportunity at any time to speak to a group of young
people is really at the core of what we're trying to do
to push for change and engage and inspire and empower
young people to understand what youth homelessness is
and understand what kind of difference they can make in
their community when they actual take action," said
across Canada that's great, but its been done. Where we're
going to make a difference is when we get to come into
a community and share our message and motivate young people."
by the reaction on social media to Roberts visit to sKreamers,
his message resonated with many in the crowd Saturday
I went on social media and read about how it opened their
eyes and they'll never look at homelessness the same again,
that's a real win for us and really what keeps us going
throigh the rain and snow and hot sun," Roberts said
before setting out down St-Joseph Blvd.
journey actually began nearly 30 years ago when, at the
age of 15, he left home and dropped out of school after
quarreling with his stepfather and soon thereafter developed
a dependency on drugs and alcohol.
through a combination of fate and desperation, Roberts
entered a drug treatment program and got cleaned up. He
would go on to earn his high school diploma and entered
Loyalist College where he studied business marketing and
graduated in 1995 and nine years later he received the
Ontario Premier's Award for Business Excellence after
starting a highly successful high tech company specializing
in Internet solutions.
message is simple, if he can overcome homelessness and
addiction others can too with the proper support and guidance.
The key to ending youth homelessness, says Roberts, is
prevention, combined with emergency services and sustainable
more information about the "Push for Change"
cross-Canada trek and fundraising campaign visit www.thepushforchange.com.
Roberts sets out from the Shenkman Arts Centre
early Monday morning on the Orléans
leg of his Push for Change trek across Canada.
He is scheduled to arrive on Parliament Hill
at 1 p.m. Fred Sherwin/Photo
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)