Name: Gabriel Pirvu
Program: Honours Bachelor of Business Administration
Why 5 days? I’ve wanted to participate in 5 Days since seeing the huge impact it had on campus in my first year at Laurier. Over the past three years, it has grown remarkably into campaign that brings attention to homelessness that affects young people across the Canada. I am very grateful to be chosen as one of the participants. I believe 5 Days is the perfect medium to help students relate to the cause and truly shed light on the issue of youth homelessness.
What do you hope to learn from this experience? Having experienced poverty in the past I can’t fathom how other young people can go through it alone. I was lucky enough to have my family as a support system when times were tough and I want to help other young people make it through their toughest times. I want to use this experience to raise funds for the shelters that are doing an outstanding job within our community and help them touch the lives of even more youth.
Name: Megan McBride
Program: Honours Bachelor of Science Kinesiology
Why 5 days? Growing up I have been fortunate enough to live a very privileged life. I am participating in 5 Days for the Homeless to gain a better understanding of the struggles and difficulties that being homeless can bring about. I hope to raise awareness about the causes of homelessness and the services that are available to those who are in need.
What do you hope to learn from this experience? From this experience, I hope to learn more about youth homelessness and what I can do to help decrease it. By doing so, I can then spread the knowledge I have gained to the rest of the community and beyond that, with the hope of decreasing the stigma surrounding homelessness and increasing the support and services.
Name: Jeff Lei
Program: Honours Bachelor Business Administration
Why 5 days? I chose to participate in the 5 Days for the Homeless campaign this year to really put my life into perspective and at the same time create awareness within the Laurier community to help get youths off the streets so they are able to build their lives by gaining valuable skills to break the vicious cycle of homelessness and poverty. I always catch myself complaining about the little things that happen in my life. Making them seem as if they are big problems and how my life sucks, but when there are 200000 Canadians affected by homelessness and 65000 are youths just like me, the “problems” I complain about does not measure up.
5 Days for the Homeless is a great organization that aims to increase awareness of homelessness and raise donations for local charitable organizations supporting homeless and at-risk youth across the country. The Laurier chapter will be raising donations for Argus and R.OOF, both supporting homeless youths in the KW area by providing programs and shelter to help rebuild their lives for success. 5 Days for the Homeless focuses on the values of equality, diversity, dignity and integrity. I stand by these values as well and believe that every person should have equal opportunities to achieve success. I chose to be apart of 5 Days to put my life into perspective and to help the Laurier community recognize that it is our responsibility to provide opportunities for those at-risk individuals so that they can achieve their own definition of success without sacrificing their dignity and integrity. Put you life into perspective and support 5 Days for the Homeless!
What do you hope to learn from this experience? As a participant I will be making personal sacrifices during the 5 days as I will be ‘homeless’. I hope to learn to be able to cope with these circumstances, work and grow together with the other participants and turn these personal sacrifices to positive impacts on the Laurier community. I also would like to learn more about youth homelessness and how we can help not just during this campaign but also after it, and be able to educate others on the campaign as well as different ways to help homelessness in Canada.
Name: Taylor Sicard
Program: Honours Bachelor of Science Biochemistry
Why 5 days? 5 Days for the Homeless is a campaign that is very close to my heart. I was a member of the organizing committee for the campaign last year, and I am so excited to be a participant this year! The main reason I want to be a participant, is because of a realization that I had at Open Forum during the campaign last year. Open Forum is an event that facilitates a conversation about homelessness, discussing the stigmas surrounding homelessness and the circumstances that lead to a homeless youth. I remember sitting there, listening to the conversation and it kind of hit me that the majority of homeless youth aren’t homeless because of their actions but instead because of the actions of their parents and guardians – the people who were supposed to be taking care and failed. They aren’t homeless because of drugs or alcohol or because they have mental problems, they are homeless because of bad circumstances at home – they were born into a bad situation and there is absolutely nothing they can do about it. That is why I wanted to be a participant this year, because I was born into a wonderful loving family who cares so much about me – but it could have been different. It isn’t fair that thousands of youth in our own community don’t have a safe place to sleep due to circumstances that they have no control over and I want to make a change.
What do you hope to learn from this experience? From this experience, I hope to gain a little insight into the struggles that a homeless youth faces. Obviously, 5 days is not the equivalent of being a homeless youth – I get to go home at the end of the 5 days where that isn’t the case for someone who is truly homeless. However, I will spend the week as homeless as I can be, in an attempt to raise awareness about my experience and to start breaking the stigmas surrounding youth homelessness. Also, I think that after the experience I will be a lot more thankful for all the simple things that I take for granted every day – a bed, hot shower, food, the opportunity to be in school. I think it will provide me with a better understanding of what the important things are and I hope to be able to share that with others.
Name: Mallory Tomiuk
Program: Honours Bachelor of Arts Global Studies and French (Double Major)
Why 5 days? 5 Days for the Homeless Laurier is something I got involved with since my first year in university. What attracted me to the campaign were the engaging and fascinating people involved in making it happen and the exceptionally important initiative behind it all. Being involved in small ways throughout my degree at Laurier made me come to realize the realities that this campaign tries to expose and it made me question why the general public turns a blind eye on this very important issue. As a Global studies major, I began to question why I was even learning about development on an international scale, and took a step back to look at this significant issue within a place that we call home.
This campaign does just that; it shows you the realities of homelessness HOWEVER, it also shows you how you can make a difference—literally. The funds raised each year that go to local youth shelters are personally recognized so you actually get to witness the appreciation and changes that are being made if you follow the campaign annually. Overall, being a participant is going to give me either answers to some of the questions I mentioned above, or perhaps it will just give me more questions. Like youth homelessness, it will chip away at finding ways to alleviate this ongoing issue in our very own communities.
What do you hope to learn from this experience? Being homeless for 5 days on Laurier’s campus sounds difficult: no clean clothes, no food, no shelter, etc. All of these things are things that I have to try to live without, but the fact of the matter is, no one should have to live like this and this is especially important for young people who lack the capabilities to achieve these basic necessities on their own. Fortunately, I will only be there for 5 days with 4 others by my side knowing that I will be going back to my warm bed at the end of the week. So why would I even want to do this?
Well aside from my passion for the 5 Days campaign, there are a few things I hope to take from this experience. Although I am already skilled in starting bonfires, setting up tents and fishing, I think there is a practical lesson in this: this could be me. This could be you! So not only am I hoping to learn that I could easily be in this position, but I am showing other people that they could be too—which will hopefully encourage others to get involved as well. I am not looking for people to take interest in going homeless to make change but it could be something as simple as just recognizing that these issues exist, or throwing a toonie in the money collection box towards ROOF or ARGUS residence in the K-W area, or even to have a knowledgeable conversation with other participants or other peers about the issues. I want to be involved in making positive change within our community; after all, we are a community right? We should be taking care of one another.
The participants in this campaign are just a tool to educate and spread awareness about this issue. Aside from the many tears that I will cry from being cold or wet, being hungry, or missing my family, I will gain the capacity to create change and that is pretty awesome!