Toronto, ON (PRWEB) February 28, 2014
Throughout the month, media and advocacy initiatives highlighted the often-overlooked and misunderstood issue of youth homelessness while special fundraising activities garnered much-needed funds.
“This year’s success has given us a solid foundation to build on in the future as a way to get our message out that homeless kids are at high-risk and they deserve a chance at a better life,” says Josie doRego, Covenant House Communications and Development Director.
Last night, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair and Covenant House International President Kevin Ryan were guest speakers at a special donor reception. Along with the agency’s Executive Director Bruce Rivers, they discussed the vulnerability of homeless youth to sexual exploitation and possible solutions.
To rally support for a new provincial law that would help prevent more at-risk youth from becoming homeless, the agency circulated an online petition that has gathered almost 9,000 signatures to date.
Earlier in the month, former resident Kiwayne, who recently won a national youth achievement award, shared his story with a number of news media. Radio public service announcements also ran at several local stations.
Companies and employee groups as well as donors got behind the effort to help raise almost $500,000 towards the agency’s $20-million operating budget.
The month was proclaimed by the City of Toronto and recognized by the Ontario government.
The agency chose February for its campaign as it is traditionally the coldest winter month and when kids most need a safe refuge. It also marks the anniversary of Covenant House Toronto’s opening in 1982.
Much more than a shelter, Covenant House offers about 3,000 kids annually the widest range of life-changing services under one roof, including education, employment and job training, counselling, and health care. To do all this, the agency relies on donors for 80 percent of its annual budget.