20 Jan, 2012
Baby, it’s cold outside
The other night I trudged home late, from a meeting with Councillor Hobbs and all the community associations in Kitchissippi Ward. During the meeting we went around the table and talked about the concerns in each of our neighborhoods. I walked home in the freezing dark, feeling tired but inspired. These people REALLY love their city, so much so that they took a Wednesday night out of their busy lives to talk about how they can improve it for the people who live here. It was uplifting, and got me thinking: what small things can we do to make our city a better place to live?
Some of you might remember that I’ve been involved with the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa (YSB). They are a wonderful organization that does amazing work right here in the city. They’ve been around for over 50 years and they do their work quietly and seemingly without much fanfare, even though they are one of the largest and most comprehensive non-profit agencies serving youth in this community. Over 350 caring professionals work from 20 locations across the Ottawa to deliver a vast range of programs and services that support at-risk youth and their families in areas such as mental health, employment, youth justice, and housing.
It’s the latter that I want to talk to you about today, during a week that has had temperatures plummeting to bone-chilling lows.
Housing and homelessness are real issues even though many of us don’t see it in our day-to-day lives. There are young people who are struggling and need our help.
- Each year, more than 1,200 youth rely on YSB to help them access and maintain the most basic needs — food, shelter and safety
- In just one year, the Young Women’s and Young Men’s shelters provided 20,000 individual nights of shelter for youth in need of a safe place to stay
- Over 80% of youth served by the Housing and Trusteeship Program avoid becoming homeless after working with YSB staff on life-skills, conflict resolution, budgeting and housing
I think these are pretty incredible numbers. And with big numbers come big costs, but there are small things that individuals can do to help.
The YSB has launched a fundraiser in partnership with an organization called Raising the Roof and they’re selling toques to help support the YSB’s housing program. 80 per cent of each toque sale goes right back to YSB to help young people right here in Ottawa.
- One toque will provide one youth with 3 nutritious supper meals.
- 10 toques will provide supper and groceries for 24 youth in a shelter for one day.
- 1 box of toques will help 16 young people purchase a monthly bus pass to go to school, go to work, and get back on their feet.
Everyone who buys a toque is encouraged to wear it loud and proud to help raise awareness of this critical issue. What’s more, February 7 has been officially deemed Toque Tuesday. That’s the day you don’t want to forget your toque at home. If people ask where you got your fabulous chapeau (or even if they don’t), we hope you will spread the news and point them back to YSB and tell them about the wonderful work they’re doing.
So here’s my big ask. I’m buying 30 toques, and I’m hoping I can sell one or two (but preferably all of them) to you, my readers, in the Ottawa area. The cost is a minimum of $10/toque. I will even deliver them to your home or place of business, and hopefully you’ll let me snap a photo of you wearing your toque. (Which you will hopefully post on your Facebook pages and share with your networks along with this link.)
Please help me spread the word and help me reach my 30!
If you’re a school, church, or business (big or small!) and would like to buy a larger quantity of toques for your staff, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. They’ll be happy to work something out with you. (If you DO contact them for a larger order, let me know because I’d love to meet you and shake your hand.)
Interested? Leave a comment below and let me know if you are able to buy one from me. If you are not in a position to make a purchase, please consider tweeting this out or sharing this message with your own networks.
Thank you in advance for your kindness and generosity, and for helping make Ottawa a great place to live!
Over to you!
p.s. I’ll be emailing each person who comments below to set up a time/date!
Update: January 23
I’m sold out, but it’s not too late to buy toques online through the Raising the Roof website: http://www.raisingtheroof.org/Our-Programs/Toque-Campaign/Purchase-a-Toque.aspx#order
Proceeds from any toques sold in Ottawa will be directed to YSB.
Alternatively, from Monday – Friday 8:30-4:30 pm you can drop by the YSB head office at 2675 Queensview Drive (near the Ikea) to purchase toques. Thanks again for your support! Yay!
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