The last year has been a challenge for most of us around the world. It is a global pandemic, closures around the globe, and recessions that have already come, or may still, even the middle class is struggling. Still, what if you were already a disadvantaged youth before this even happened or became one because of it? Well, today’s feature is about just that.
Covenant House came to my attention when I started ADDICTED, and ever since, I’ve tried to show my support, and now, that is needed more than ever. After one of the worst years in recent history, leaving higher numbers of homeless and unfed youth here in Toronto, across Canada and sadly, the globe.
For some young people, the challenges stacked against them as a happy, safe home aren’t their reality.
We know there is a significant problem and understand the government is already overwhelmed by now, so where does that leave us? Supporting the centres and programs in our community and here in Toronto like Covenant House.
Covenant House provides a safe space for youth who are homeless, trafficked or at risk.
Over the last decade, they have seen a shift. More young people are staying with them for more extended periods. This is because the youth they serve are facing more complex challenges. In addition to abuse, neglect and family breakdown, more youth struggle with mental health, finding affordable housing and getting stable, meaningful jobs.
But there’s more to the story.
Homelessness or trafficking can happen to anyone. However, young people who face added barriers because of disability, sexuality or racial identity are often over-represented. And 59 per cent of youth at Covenant House are from average and upper-income households. For them, the street appeared a safer option than staying at home.
These youth are some of the most vulnerable and some of the most resilient. With the right opportunities, they can build a better future.
So how can you and I get involved? Well, this year, my partner and I are taking part in the Covenant House Sleep Out.
Sleep Outs are an immersive experience that allows you to explore the causes of youth homelessness, connect with youth at Covenant House and learn about how your fundraising supports tangible solutions. By taking up the challenge of spending one night on the street, you are demonstrating your commitment to making a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable, virtually that is.
Ninety per cent of funds raised for Sleep Out events go directly to help the young people they serve.
Whether you help spread the word, make a donation or get involved personally today, every little bit helps, and for those in need, it can make a world of difference. Help us with the Sleep Out, share this post, or send us some well wishes along the way as we help work towards a better community and hopefully a better world for all.
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