Youth camped out in Harry Lafevre Square on Friday night to raise awareness for homelessness and raise money for a youth shelter.
Members of the Rossland Me to We club setup tents and a fire pit in the square and collected $1795 for Cicada Place in Nelson, which provides youth housing and homeless outreach services, and is run by Nelson Community Services Centre.
“Tonight we’re sleeping outside to raise money and awareness for homeless youth in the Kootenays,” explained Ellie Knox, a member of Me to We.
The club raised a large part of the money beforehand over Yodel, which waived its usual administration fee, but also collected a fair bit on the street. They decided to support Cicada because they wanted to do something for youth in need and Cicada is the only youth housing in the region. When discussing what cause to support, they also decided that their community includes the entire West Kootenays, not just Rossland.
Youth passed the time by speaking with people on the street about why they were camping out, cooking hot dogs, playing games and playing music around the fire.
Mike Kent, coordinator for the Rossland Youth Action, which supports the Me to We club, said that, “The goal was not [for the kids] to come away thinking they know what it might be like to be homeless — they understand that this experience in no way reflects what it is like to be truly without a place to stay. The group wanted to have the opportunity to raise awareness, break stereotypes and challenge misconceptions about homelessness.”
“We’ve had a lot of money, a lot of donations and just a lot of conversations,” said Knox. “It’s a great way to give back to the community, doing something like this.”
For their last two fundraisers, the Me to We Club did a We Are Silent event that raised $1930 for the WINS Transition House in Trail, and wrapped Christmas presents to raise money for the West Kootenay Friends of Refugees.
Those who missed Friday night’s event can still help the Me to We youth reach their $2000 goal for Cicada by visiting from_homeless_to_home.yodel.org/challenge/we-wont-rest.