‘5 Days’ campaign kicks off
Between March 11 and March 16, five students from Wilfrid Laurier University will be voluntarily sleeping outside the Fred Nichols Campus Centre (FNCC) to raise awareness about youth homelessness.
The 5 Days for the Homeless campaign started in 2005 at the University of Alberta with Laurier hosting its first event in 2008. This year marks the fifth time 5 Days for the Homeless has been at Laurier, and the campaign has maintained its goal of helping the homeless youth in the Kitchener-Waterloo region.
“Our main [goal] is to raise awareness, we really want the student body to realize that youth homelessness is still an issue,” said Katye Burkimsher, the public relations coordinator for the campaign.
Along with drawing attention to this issue, the campaign will be donating all proceeds, including money and non-perishable food items, to two local charities, Kitchener-Waterloo Reaching Our Outdoor Friends (ROOF) and Argus Residence for Young People. The campaign hopes to reach its goal of $15,000 worth of donations.
The five participants, Cameron Moorehead, Laiya Carayannopoulos, Richard Reid, Olivia Montgomery and Carolyn Hodgson, will be sleeping outside for five days, but are expected to attend regular classes and maintain their academics responsibilities.
They are not allowed to use any of the campus facilities to shower, have no income and can only accept food that has been donated. They only have access to the clothes on their back and a pillow and blanket.
“You can’t really expect anything,” said Moorehead, when asked about his expectations of the five days. “Because you’re outside, anything can happen at any moment, the weather can change in a instant, the amount of food coming in can change in an instant and that’s one of the issues of living on the streets that people face.”
The five participants were selected after they went through a hiring process, and one of their requirements was to create an awareness video, displaying their passion for the campaign. “This is such an awesome campaign, it is youth helping youth and we can see change happening in our very own community,” said Montgomery.
“I want to show [the students] that there are other ways to contribute and other ways you can make a difference without necessarily emptying your pockets all the time,” Carayannopoulos explained about her reasoning behind participating in this campaign. All five participants are visibly passionate about this issue, as are the other volunteers participating in the campaign.
“People have … a lot of perceptions of homelessness and we are trying to break those barriers,” Burkimsher said when asked about what she hopes this campaign will achieve.