Five business students who spent last week living homeless at the University of Manitoba say the experience was an eye-opener.
“I am much more grateful for the fact that I have a warm bed, I have a part-time job and I think I’m going to be doing better in my classes from now on,” laughed Maria Gluskin, who joined four of her Asper School of Business classmates to sleep outside for five days to raise awareness of homeless youth and money for Resource Assistance for Youth (RaY). “We need more organizations like (RaY) because you guys actually know what the problem is and you take steps to solve that problem.
“Honestly it was rough’I'm dirty and I want to take a shower’but I would do it over again.”
Gluskin, along with Kate Armstrong, Sam Holloway, Jaysa Nachtigall, and Jill Stevens all went without homes, beds, and showers and asked for change from students and faculty while attending their regular classes March 11-16.
This marked the fourth year five students from the U of M joined 26 universities across Canada to take part in 5 Days for the Homeless, a national campaign which raised more than $209,000 this year alone.
The young women in Winnipeg were able to give RaY executive director Kelly Holmes a cheque for $19,515 after rolling up their sleeping bags Friday.
“Thank you for making me cry again for the fourth year in a row,” said Holmes while accepting the cheque at a ceremony held at the Asper School of Business Friday.
RaY’s director of communications, Adrien Sala, said Winnipeg has roughly 1,500 youth living on the streets today, and RaY is there to make sure they have a place to stay, clothes to wear, access to showers and laundry, and the chance to find a job.
“This kind of donation is really important to us because funding is becoming more and more difficult to come by,” he said. “This will go a long way because we don’t need to focus it on a particular program’it goes to keeping the lights on.”
To learn more about RaY or to donate visit their website at rayinc.ca.