Push for change for the ho­me­less

Le Reflet (The News) - - COLLECTIVITE | COMMUNITY - Gregg.chamberlain@eap.on.ca

The OPP is wai­ting to wel­come Joe Roberts to On­ta­rio.

In his youn­ger days Roberts used to be one of Ca­na­da’s ho­me­less. His “li­ving ad­dress” was un­der a bridge. Now he’s a suc­cess­ful bu­si­ness­man, for­mer pre­sident and chief exe­cu­tive of­fi­cer of his own suc­cess­ful multimedia com­pa­ny, but he still re­mem­bers the hard­ships that he went th­rough th­ree de­cades ago. The same si­tua­tion that ma­ny Ca­na­dians who are ho­me­less now must en­dure. He wants to do so­me­thing about that.

A chance mee­ting on a bu­si­ness flight from Van­cou­ver to Cal­ga­ry brought Roberts in contact with Dr. Sean Ri­chard­son, a for­mer elite ath­lete who now holds a doc­to­rate in per­for­mance psy­cho­lo­gy. Their chat to­ge­ther du­ring that flight re­sul­ted in the creation of The Push for Change pro­ject.

“Both of us, in our dif­ferent ways, have al­ways li­ved in the context that any­thing is pos­sible,” sta­ted Roberts.

The ove­rall goals are: to ins­pire Ca­na­dians “with the idea that any­thing is pos­sible”; raise mo­ney and help sti­mu­late change “for a si­gni­fi­cant cause”; and meet with people, both one-on-one and in groups, to en­cou­rage them to take per­so­nal ac­tion them­selves “to help make a dif­fe­rence.”

Which led in the end to Roberts pu­shing a shop­ping cart 9000 ki­lo­metres across Ca­na­da, from New­found­land to B.C., to pro­mote pu­blic awa­re­ness of the plight of ho­me­less people. He is trund­ling th­rough sou­thern Qué­bec now and ex­pects to ar­rive in Eas­tern On­ta­rio, in Haw­kes­bu­ry, on Sept. 22.

Plans are afoot for a wel­come to On­ta­rio ga­the­ring when Roberts ar­rives in Haw­kes­bu­ry, af­ter which he will conti­nue on his way along Coun­ty Road 17 to­wards Ot­ta­wa.

Con­ti­nuing on along Coun­ty Road 17 to­wards Ot­ta­wa, Roberts is ex­pec­ted to ar­rive in Ro­ck­land on Sept. 25. Rus­sell Coun­ty OPP have a barbecue wel­come and fun­drai­ser plan­ned at the Jean-Marc La­londe Are­na, star­ting at 10 a.m. Roberts then heads on for Ot­ta­wa and from there turns west to make his way to Bri­tish Co­lum­bia, with the goal of ar­ri­ving in Van­cou­ver on Sept. 30, 2017, com­ple­ting his 9000-ki­lo­metre trek..

Those who want more de­tails on Roberts’ jour­ney or who want to keep track of him en route, can go to www.the­pu­sh­for­change.com.

Roberts is on the road to raise awa­re­ness of the plight of Ca­na­da’s ho­me­less people. His cross-coun­try jour­ney brings him to Haw­kes­bu­ry on Sept. 22, on his way th­rough Pres­cott-Rus­sell up to Ot­ta­wa be­fore he heads west.

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