Solutions to Homelessness – Initiatives Started by Youth

12 06 2009

I have found countless examples of young people engaging themselves in the issue of homelessness. The success they have achieved has been extremely amazing and inspirational. Here are two examples I would like to share with you:

  • A Dollar a Day Campaign – The vision of this campaign was to get as many people as possible in Vancouver to contribute a dollar a day for 30 days in the month of November 2008 in order to fight poverty in Metro Vancouver. By campaigning in order to raise funds, this initiative also raised awareness about poverty and homelessness to schools, communities, and clubs all over Vancouver. Started with only a few young people and led by a youth pastor, A Dollar a Day raised over $40,000 to fight poverty. See the video above to get a glimpse of the project.
  • 5 Days for the Homeless – To raise awareness and funds for homelessness, university students lived on campus for 5 days without food or any housing, in order to experience what it was like to be homeless. Food and any other survival items could only come as donations from passerby. Founded by University of Alberta business students in 2005, this campaign has spread to over ten universities across Canada by 2007, raising over $132,000 to fight homelessness across Canada.

I think that initiatives which are led by young people help to create a generation who care about social issues and feel empowered to do something about them. This is extremely important in our world today. Initiatives which involve collaboration and the contribution of individuals for success can build community and empower people to work towards social change. Engaging young people is especially important because when they begin learning about social issues and believing that they can make a difference at a young age, then this can dramatically change their thoughts and actions for the rest of their lives. By engaging them at a young age, we are building a generation of people who care about social issues, are engaged in the community, and will make a difference in it.

Innovations such as You Tube, WordPress, and other online collaboration tools and alternative media has changed the way we communicate in our world today. This has brought the far reaching issues of the world to us, raising awareness for social issues in a way that has never been down before. Even businesses have began to recognize that when they recruit employees, often one of the top criteria that new graduates have for selecting a company is whether the company is socially responsible and ethical. Indeed, when a small group of people are dedicated and committed to doing something positive, it’s amazing what results can be achieved. Compared to the rest of the world, we are the richest people in the world in terms of wealth, knowledge and resources. It boggles my mind to think of the amazing things we can achieve when we put our mind to it!

Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

-Margaret Mead