DAY #4: TAYLOR
This morning, Megan and I woke up while it was still dark to freezing rain. Then the weather quickly shifted to a snowstorm. We were all pretty bundled up and warm, but it wasnt very long until everything was soaked. Eventually, it was time to get up and go to class. I found it really really hard to pay attention today. All I could do in class was stare outside and pray that it would stop snowing. I was wet and cold and grumpy. We also started our fast today at noon. It wasnt too bad to start with but as the day went on, being outside in the cold got harder especially with an empty stomach. As much as the weather today absolutely sucked, the actual day wasnt too bad. I feel like the campaign got a lot more awareness today because everyone was talking about the crazy people sleeping outside in the snowstorm. We also got alot of donations today too which was great.
There was one moment today that really made me take a second to stop feeling bad for myself and remember who we are doing this campaign for. A girl came up to us today and started talking to us about the experiences she had faced regarding youth homelessness within her family. And then she started to cry, it was such an emotional experience because we could tell how much what we were doing meant to her. I almost started crying with her, but I gave her a hug and she went on her way. Its moments like these when our perspective really shifts and it really leaves an impact.
Our event tonight was ‘Stand up for health’ – a simulation game intended to get us thinking about the relationship between income and mental/physical health. Essentially we were given $1000, a repetitive minimum wage job and situation cards. There were several rounds, each a ‘day’ which consisted of going to work and then flipping a situation card. The situation cards were decisions that had to be made based on how much money you had and your priorities. One of the ones we got was that our mother was sick and needed to go to the hospital – we could either take half a day off work, and pay $40 to take her or make her take the bus where she would be late for her appointment. Some of the situation cards were expensive – having to pay $350 to fix your furnace because its -30 outside and yours it broken, and some lead to your stress meter increasing. Essentially the game showed how having a low income makes decisions that should otherwise be easy can be extremely difficult when you have no money, and how these decisions play a role in your physical and mental health. It was really interesting and an awesome learning opportunity. It definitely opened up my eyes to a lot of situations that I’ve never had to face.
Theres so much about today that I want to talk about but its really hard to put into words. I just think that for me this campaign so far has been a really big experience, but I also know that the campaign has a definite time period and the at 5pm on friday I get to go home, take a how shower, and put on clean clothes. But this isnt a reality for people who are actually experiencing homelessness. For them, they dont know the next time they will be able to shower, or whether they will have a safe place to sleep tomorrow. And this weather is something they have faced all winter, and the fast is not a choice for them, its a part of every day survival. With every experience I have during this campaign, I try to relate it back and imagine myself as an actual homeless youth. If I was born into a bad situation, I could have been on the complete other side of the fence. If my family wasnt so supportive and wasnt there for me with every decision I make, then this could be my reality as opposed to my week. Its just really hard to imagine and I am so so thankful for everything I have.
Posted on Thursday, March 13th, 2014 @ 3:04PM
Categories: 5Days Laurier