It is really cold here in Sydney as I type, tonight it is likely to be around 7 degrees. Yes there are colder places in the world, but this is not about you or I. I am going to assume that most of you reading my blog will sleep in a warm bed tonight. Sadly there are more than 47,000 young Australians under the age of 25 who are homeless. Many of them will be trying to keep warm on the streets as you tuck your children into bed and rug up.
It doesn’t matter how many times I type those words, my heart hurts to think about these young people. Can you imagine if your own child was trying to stay warm (and safe!) on the streets tonight? It is a little too much to even contemplate isn’t it? Please don’t flick away though, this is not all doom and gloom.
If you have heard of Father Chris Riley and his wonderful charity Youth Off The Streets you will know what a truly extraordinary man he is, and you may know how hard he works to reach as many of these young people as possible. I am blessed to actually work for Father Chris, applying my Fundraising, Marketing and Event Management skills to the incredibly important issue of youth homelessness.
It is such a personal and passionate place to work, and we have a new campaign that has launched that I feel so strongly about I wanted to share it with you. It is called #laceitup and it came about whilst a young media guru was on our Street Walk in 2013.
The Street Walk takes place in Sydney on pretty much every night of the year and it is such an important part of the work that is done at Youth Off The Streets. This program literally attempts to get our ‘youth off the streets’ by spending time in their environment building relationships and offering support.
It was during his time volunteering on the Street Walk that this young media guru noticed that homeless young people sleep with their shoes on. It is a necessity, to keep warm and ready to run from harm. The simple luxury of putting shoes on and off is denied, and the concept for this campaign was borne from this harsh reality.
It is such a simple act, to buy the special blue laces and swap them with your usual laces. This is #laceitup. It has the potential to raise huge amounts of vital funds, and to spread across social media raising awareness and bringing youth homelessness out of the shadows.
It would be so amazing if you could take a minute to check out the campaign here. The laces are only $5 a pair including delivery, and I know how creative you all are, taking a photo and sharing with the hashtag #laceitup has the potential to change the life of a homeless young person.