‘Push for Change’ campaign arrives in Ontario

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Entrepreneur spreading awareness on homelessness

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has welcomed Joe Roberts – a former street youth who is now a celebrated entrepreneur – as he arrived in Ontario on Thursday, pushing his shopping cart to spread awareness about homeless youth.

Community members and partners, students and special guest Walter Gretzky joined Joe and OPPCommissioner J.V.N. (Vince) Hawkes as they walked from Confederation Park to the Robert Hartley Sports Complex in Hawkesbury, sharing their message to make positive change for youth. The event continues into the evening with a silent auction and entertainment.

Hawkes said: “The Push for Change is a perfect opportunity to engage with community stakeholders and partners to spread awareness about homeless youth and help mitigate the underlying risk factors that lead to the vulnerability of homelessness.”

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“Having the OPP as a community safety partner helps both our organizations engage Ontario communities with a shared message on what we need to do to prevent, reduce and end youth homelessness,” added Joe.

9000-km trek

Joe, the Executive Director of The Push for Change, began his 9,000 km trek across Canada on May 1, 2016. For the next seven months, he will be walking and travelling across Ontario, stopping in communities along the way to speak about the issues at the root of youth homelessness.

As part of a community safety partnership with The Push for Change, the OPP is mobilizing and engaging with youth and various stakeholders in more than 50 community-based events, such as sleep out challenges, hockey games and community meals. These events, beginning with the one today in Hawkesbury, will raise awareness about the risk factors and vulnerabilities affecting homeless youth, while fostering positive connections between the OPP, youth, families, stakeholders and communities.

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The Push for Change encourages everyone to work together, one community at a time, to make sustainable change for Canadian youth. The OPP’s partnership with the campaign helps create positive momentum and multiply efforts to educate people about, and eliminate youth homelessness.

Further information about The Push for Change campaign is available at www.thepushforchange.com.

David ORAZIETTI, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services said: “As The Push for Change comes to Ontario, we take this opportunity to recognize their work in raising awareness and helping to end youth homelessness. Addressing the risk factors that lead to poverty and youth homelessness is a key focus of the government’s Strategy for a Safer Ontario – a collaborative and integrated approach to community safety and well-being that brings various sectors together to determine solutions to our shared challenges.”

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