Under the Lights: Beyond Boarding for 5 Days of Homelessness

It was one of those magical, mid-week evenings at Grouse Mountain.

The forecast called for a heavy rainfall warning in Vancouver.  Lucky for us cooler temperatures on the mountain transformed the rain into heavy snowfall, and day or night everyone loves powder turns.  We headed up the gondola ready to ride.

The night was filled with fun and face shots from beginning to end. We slayed POW and lapped the park a few times for good measure. While heading back down the gondola, looking out to the city it made me wonder what else was going on under the lights and in the shadows.

Usually after riding I would go home to a warm shower and dry clothes waiting for me by my cozy bed.  This night was going to be different. Instead of going home to enjoy all my creature comforts, I headed down to Capilano University to join a group of students and some of the Beyond Boarding crew who were sleeping outside to raise awareness and funds for the North Shore Youth Safe House.

We are participating in a National Campaign happening at University Campuses this week. The 5 Days for the Homeless project has students from various programs making a commitment to sleep outside for 5 days with just the clothes on their backs, a sleeping bag and depending on the kindness of others for food.

The North Shore is a picturesque area and many people don’t really think of homelessness as an issue, especially amongst youth. Even in a seemly affluent area many challenges such as sexual or physical assault, substance abuse or mental health issues can lead to homelessness. The North Shore Youth Safe House takes in these homeless or at-risk youth and works with them to not only help in times of crisis but also provide services that teach basic life skills to help them achieve success long term.

 

In 2012 the North Shore Youth Safe House turned away more youth then it could help. While I spent only one night with the group, as a guest representing Beyond Boarding, it made me wonder where I would sleep if I had nowhere else to go.  The students will be sleeping outside until this Friday, March 15th. Stop by Capilano University to support them in person or check out the website to learn more and help them achieve their goal of raising $5000.

 http://5days.ca/capilano/donate/

-Jen