A group of 10 Swift Current Comprehensive High School students will be giving up their daily comforts and luxuries to experience a bit of what it is like to be homeless.
Members of the SCCHS Student Leadership Council are participating in a five-day campaign to raise awareness of the issue of homeless youth in Swift Current. The Five Days for Change campaign is aiming to raise $5,000 as the 10 students and three advisors will be homeless from May 20 to 24.
"I think it's definitely going to be a really eye-opening experience. I think there's probably going to be a lot of nights where we don't get a lot of sleep because it's definitely not going to be the most comfortable thing, and it's really going to be something we're not used to," admitted group spokesperson Shawn Wiskar.
Money raised during the five-day fundraiser will support the Southwest Street Culture Housing Committee's efforts to help build an eight bed youth shelter in Swift Current.
Students participating in the effort are Wiskar, Jace Tait, Miranda Paul, Tony Rousseaux, Dylan Spetz, Sam Kehler, Caitlyn Karst, Danica Peifer, Jade Koch and Cassidy Smith.
"I definitely hope that by the time our five days are done that every participant has a feel for what it's like to be homeless, at least for a couple of nights."
Wiskar said most people they speak with are surprised to learn there is actually a youth homeless issue in Swift Current.
"That's the first question we always get. Why are you guys doing this, cause there aren't homeless people in Swift Current. And what people don't realize is in Swift Current alone there is always a need for at least six beds in our city, so there's always six people out on the streets that are homeless. It's not that these six people are always homeless, it's just that the youth, when they have nowhere to stay, they couch surf. But they can only couch surf in one location for so long. So what they do is they go from place to place, and eventually they end up in dangerous situations where they're doing things that they shouldn't be."
The Five Days for Change campaign begins on Victoria Day May 20. They will have a visible launch to the effort, setting up at Market Square in downtown Swift Current where a number of live bands will be performing and they will have a chance to directly answer questions and hand out information brochures to those interested. Group members will be situated for part of Tuesday through Wednesday evening in front of SCCHS, but during the overnight hours they will be moved into the open air courtyard for safety and security reasons. They hope to build momentum behind their effort and on May 23 they are inviting all students who want to participate to join them on the front lawn of school overnight so they can also experience some of the challenges the homeless face. A community BBQ is being hosted on May 24 for the community to again support the fundraising effort.
People are invited to support the Five Days For Change effort in a number of ways. Donations can be made directly to one of 10 participants, people can come to the May 20 event at Market Square or the BBQ on May 24, or contact Wiskar via cel at 306-741-6023 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The public is invited to follow their progress at facebook.com/FiveDaysforChange.