Written by Kayla McBride, Student Journalist
As the temperature begins to drop and we make our way into winter, many people are turning their heat on, cooking warm meals and adding blankets to their already warm beds. But for some people, people our age, the opportunity to have any of those things, is a dream.
Continuing with a nine-year tradition, on Thursday, October 20, St. Dominic Catholic Secondary School students had the opportunity to raise awareness for teen homelessness. For one night they would give up their warm houses and comfy beds for tarps and cardboard boxes and relied on the generosity of others.
“We need to be mindful of the struggles that many people face daily, both locally and globally. Whether it is poverty, mental wellness, or other struggles, we are called to make this world a better place, we need to understand, we need to choose kindness, be humble and give thanks. We need to be empathetic to those struggles. Keeping in mind at the end of it, our students could walk around with a sweater and have their lunch, this is not the case for many,” said Kevin Strong, Principal at St. Dominic.
Students and staff members stayed after school to participate in this powerful experience. With technology and food left in lockers, the night began. The event started with a “mock” soup kitchen. Each student received a cup of soup and a croissant for dinner, which is more than many people in our community would have to eat that night.
Throughout the night, students had the opportunity to make their shelter and participate in games and reflections. They spoke about what they were thankful for - many students being grateful for shelter and friends. Before too long, it was time to go to bed. Participants made their way into the shelter made out of tarps and cardboard where they were lucky enough to have protection from the elements.
When morning came, everything was cleaned up, and all evidence of the makeshift shelters was gone. For the students, the experience of Teen Homeless night is only a one-night event. They would be going home that night to their warm beds and plenty of food, but for many people, homelessness is a re-occurrence. To help address the issue, and bring awareness to it, students raised $1,057 for Bracebridge Out in the Cold.
“I hope that students take away how fortunate they are and that everyday is a blessing from God,” said Lisa Theriault, teacher and the founder of Teen Homeless Night at St. Dominic.