From March 10 to 15, four undergraduate Sprott students were living and sleeping outside of Carleton’s University Centre to raise awareness for homeless youth as part of the 5 Days for the Homeless campaign. The annual campaign is organized by the Sprott Business Students’ Association (SBSS) in support of Operation Come Home, a support center for homeless and at-risk youth in Ottawa. In Canada, more than 6,000 youths are homeless and account for one in five people living in homeless shelters. Operation Come Home provides hundreds of homeless youth access to the services and support they need in order to make positive changes in their lives.
Founded in 2005 at the University of Alberta, 5 Days for the Homeless is a way for Canadian university business students to give back to their local community, while learning about the challenges faced by those who are homeless.
Throughout the week, Sprott students Claire Wilson, Jodi Sunstrum, Samantha Gec, and Caylee Talbot, lived outside using only tarps and sleeping bags without the personal comforts that are often taken for granted. This included access to showers, a warm bed, personal technology items, or a kitchen full of food. They were not permitted to bring food and beverages from home or use their own money to purchase any, and had to rely on members of the university community to provide them with these necessities. In addition, they were expected to attend classes and write exams.
For second year Bachelor of Commerce student Jodi Sunstrum. it was her first time participating in the 5 Days campaign. She decided to get involved after seeing the impact of last year’s campaign.
“I knew this would be a huge challenge, but I was so inspired by the cause and I knew I wanted to help out in the biggest way I could,” said Jodi. “I’m not going to sugar coat it, it was difficult. With that being said, it was extremely rewarding as well. I know that what we experienced was in no way near the realities of being homeless, but it was very eye opening and gave me some insight into the challenges they face. To know I was making a difference in my community was such an amazing feeling, and I can’t wait to watch this campaign evolve even further in the future.”
Caylee Talbot, third year Bachelor of Commerce student, also participated in the campaign for the first time.
“I decided to participate in 5 Days for the Homeless because I thought it would be a great opportunity to give back to my community, and to learn more about myself as well as the lives of homeless youth”, said Caylee. “We were shocked at the number of people who approached us to talk about their past with homelessness. The experience was very rewarding and a lot of great memories were made, and I would encourage any other Sprott students to consider participating in the future.”
As of March 19, 2019, a total of $4,000 has been raised by Sprott this year, but it’s not too late to donate! Donations are being accepted until March 31, 2019 through this link. All of the donations will directly support Operation Come Home.
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