Relating to those in need
Night of ‘homelessness’ followed by challenge of functioning at school the next day
While sleeping in a cardboard box under the stars may offer a pleasant hint of outdoor camping for a group of Timmins teens.
However, Fiona Moylan said one of the most revealing aspects of this annual exercise, aimed at mimicking a night of homelessness, is the effort required to functioning at school the following day.
“It’s really nice that we are forced to go to school the next day to experience the exhaustion part of it,” said Moylan, who was one of 38 École secondaire catholique Thériault students taking part in school’s annual Homeless Night. “I was really very tired last year so it’s hard for me to imagine that people have to do this every single day.”
The temperature was balmy Thursday afternoon as the students were setting up their little village of cardboard boxes on the front lawn of Thériault high school where they would be spending the night until morning.
Victoria Hulley, a Grade 12 Thériault student, recalled the temperature was considerably more uncomfortable the last time she participated in Homeless Night.
“I did it two years ago and it was at the end of October, so it was a little bit colder than this year,” Hulley recalled. “It was a good experience because you get to learn what people go through when they’re outside and how they feel and all the emotions that come through their minds. I think everyone should have a chance to do it at least once.”
Valérie Faucher, a Grade 10 Thériault student, said in addition to gaining the experience of sleeping on the ground in a cardboard, students also collect donation and raise money for several charities that assist those in need in Timmins.
In order to participate, students had to go door to door and collect a minimum of $75 in donations. Several raised in excess of $200.
Faucher said there would be more fundraising happening that afternoon.
“We stand on Theriault Boulevard for an hour and we collect money” for Yo-Mobile, The Lord’s Kitchen, Project Love and the Timmins Food Bank.
Mélanie Jordan, pastoral co-ordinator at Thériault high school, said the goal of the exercise is “to raise awareness, to help people within our community” by raising money for charity, while planting seeds of social consciousness in the minds of their students.
“We want them to start at a young age to want to help others and hopefully this will continue on into their adult life,” said Jordan.
Valérie Faucher, from left, Victoria Hulley and Fiona Moylan were among the 38 École secondaire catholique Thériault students taking part in school’s annual Homeless Night Thursday. The exercise saw the students experience a taste of life as a homeless person for a 12-hour period, sleeping outside in cardboard boxes.
Mélanie Jordan, pastoral co-ordinator at Thériault high school, said each student was asked to raise a minimum of $75 with all proceeds from this event going towards The Lord’s Kitchen, The Yo-Mobile, Project Love and the Timmins Food Bank.