For the second year in a row, 15 students from Swift Current Comprehensive High School will go without warm meals, soft beds, hot showers and cell phones, all for a good cause.
It’s called 5 Days For Change, and last year the student fundraiser brought in $16,000 for a new youth homeless shelter. This year’s goal is to beat that total, and student leader Shawn Wiskar said that’s one test they’re more than eager to take.
“I think it’s definitely going to be a challenge, but I think we actually have a real good chance of meeting and breaking our goal,” he said.
The students are raising funds for Southwest Street Culture, an organization that works with homeless youths. The organization hoped to build and operate a new youth shelter by the end of this year, but is still short of their fundraising goals.
When they found out, Wiskar and other SCCHS students began preparing for another set of uncomfortable days, starting May 27.
“This year I think they kind of know what we’re getting into, even though we’ve made it a lot harder for them,” he said. “I think they’re definitely ready to take the challenge again.”
Like many of his classmates, Wiskar said he was surprised to hear how many homeless youths are in Swift Current. He put the number at between six and 12 youths each night, and said when he found out about Southwest Street Culture, he couldn’t wait to get involved.
“It just blew me away that we had this issue out there in our community,” he said. “When I found out that it was being addressed and they were just having trouble getting word out there I thought, well, the school would be a great place to start a fundraiser.”
So far support has been good, but to help beat last year’s goal, the group is expanding their fundraising activities. In addition to accepting pledges and monetary donations, the group will sell 50/50 tickets at a Redneck Betties game, as well as stage a family activity event on May 27 at Market Square.
Wiskar said there has been plenty of enthusiasm and support from the school and the community so far.
“We’ve had really amazing a reception. People are really happy to help donate and it’s just amazing how we can get behind an initiative and fully support a group of students that are carrying on a hard challenge.”
Businesses and schools around the community are also getting in on the act. Various stores and organizations are selling ‘5 Days For Change’ Bracelets for $2, with all the proceeds going to the shelter.
Fundraising is important, but Wiskar says it’s also about raising awareness. He says the students who participate quickly learn about some of the difficulties homeless youth face.
“Last year the students definitely found that as soon as we got to about midway throughout the week it really became a challenge.”
The fundraiser runs May 27-31. Students will spend five days and four nights living without shelter or technology. During the fundraiser they will accept monetary donations on the front lawn of SCCHS.