Photo and Interview Opportunities: Former street kid Joe Roberts and OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes

HAWKESBURY, ON, Sept. 19, 2016 /CNW/ - Members of the media are invited to attend the arrival of The Push for Change to Ontario and hear Joe Roberts – a former street youth turned successful entrepreneur – speak about his quest to end youth homelessness. Participants will also hear from Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner J.V.N. (Vince) Hawkes on the OPP's community safety partnership with The Push for Change.

Students, partners and members of the community, and special guest Walter Gretzky will join Joe and the OPP in Hawkesbury as they walk from Confederation Park to the Robert Hartley Sports Complex. As of Sept. 22, Joe will have walked 2,847 km, marking day 145 of the 517-day trek. The event will continue with a silent auction, including entertainment, in the evening.

On May 1, Joe began pushing a shopping cart 9,000 km across Canada to raise awareness and funds to help end youth homelessness. Joe will be in Ontario from September 2016 to April 2017. The OPP is partnering with The Push for Change as Joe travels across Ontario, encouraging everyone to work together to make sustainable change for youth.

Date:             

Thursday, September 22, 2016      



Time:         

11:00 a.m. – Joe enters Ontario

Location:      

Walk begins from Confederation Park, Hawkesbury, Ontario



Time:          

12:15 p.m. – Ceremony and Remarks

Location:       

Robert Hartley Sports Complex


425 Cartier Boulevard, Hawkesbury, Ontario



Time:          

5:00 p.m. – Silent Auction

Location:    

Royal Canadian Legion


152 Nelson Street East, Hawkesbury, Ontario

 

OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt will be broadcasting leading up to and during the day's events via Periscope at https://www.periscope.tv/OPP_HSD, Facebook Live at www.facebook.com/ontarioprovincialpolice and Twitter at www.Twitter.com/OPP_HSD.

Information about The Push for Change campaign is available at www.thepushforchange.com. For members of the media unable to attend in person, requests for phone interviews can be arranged in advance via the media contact below.

BACKGROUNDER
OPP Partnership with The Push for Change

  • The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is in a community safety partnership with The Push for Change, a national awareness and youth empowerment campaign, focusing on youth homelessness and related issues.
  • From May 1, 2016 to Sept. 30, 2017, Joe Roberts - a former addict and street youth turned successful entrepreneur - is pushing a shopping cart 9,000 km across Canada, stopping at schools and communities along the way as part of The Push for Change.
  • Joe became a celebrated Canadian entrepreneur before he was 35 years old. Today, he is the Executive Director of The Push for Change. But more than 25 years ago, he was pushing a shopping cart to collect cans and bottles for change around Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.  
  • While still on the streets in Vancouver, Joe sold his boots for $10 to buy drugs. Shoeless and penniless, Joe did two things: he called his Mom back in Ontario and he resolved to pay it forward. Back home, Joe tried to get clean, but it was too difficult. One dark night, Joe had a firearm and was threatening suicide. His Mom called the OPP.
  • OPP Constable (Retired) Scott MacLeod was one of two officers to respond. Scott recognized the difference between a threat and a crisis. This was a turning point for Joe. Ultimately, Joe received help, graduated college on the Dean's list, became a successful CEO and started paying it forward.
  • Joe's story and his pivotal encounter with an OPP officer underlines the tremendous impact one call for service can have.
  • The OPP anticipates being involved in more than 50 Push for Change events throughout 2016 and 2017.
  • These events will raise awareness about risk factors and vulnerabilities affecting homeless youth while fostering positive connections between the OPP, youth, families, stakeholders and communities.
  • Through its partnership with The Push for Change, the OPP will maximize efforts to mobilize and engage for community safety and well-being throughout Ontario. \
  • As part of its commitment to Ontario's Mobilization and Engagement Model for Community Policing, the OPP partners with many organizations and people, including Joe and The Push for Change.
  • The shopping cart can be seen as a powerful symbol of homelessness. No one has pushed one across Canada before. While the custom built cart Joe is pushing on this trek is physically empty, Joe says it is really filled with hope for change and hope that youth homelessness can be eliminated.
  • The OPP will use The Push for Change as a springboard, creating positive momentum and multiplying everyone's efforts to make positive change for youth in our communities.
  • The Push for Change encourages everyone to work together, one community at a time, to make sustainable change for Canadian youth. The goal is to broaden everyone's focus to include early intervention and prevention efforts as well as response.

 

FACT SHEET
OPP Partnership with The Push for Change

  • From May 1, 2016 to Sept. 30, 2017, Joe Roberts – a former street youth turned successful entrepreneur – is pushing a shopping cart 9,000 km across Canada, stopping at schools and communities along the way as part of The Push for Change.
  • On Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016, Joe will arrive in Ontario, at Hawkesbury, on day 145 of his journey, after having walked 2,823 km through eastern Canada and Quebec.
  • Joe is expected to reach the Ontario-Manitoba border on Tuesday, April 11, 2017, on day 346 of his journey that will end in Vancouver on Sept. 30, 2017.
  • The Push for Change journey in Ontario will cover 3,518 km, or 38 per cent of the total trek across Canada.
  • The Push for Change's goal is to raise $17million50 cents from every Canadian.
  • During The Push for Change campaign, all donations received by The Push for Change Foundation are being allocated to The Upstream Project – a prevention framework. Dollars raised at specific events hosted by service providers will be split 50/50 between The Push for Change and the event host or charity supported by the event host.
  • The primary focus of the Ontario Provincial Police's (OPP) community safety partnership with The Push for Change is to raise awareness and take positive action to prevent, reduce and end youth homelessness.
  • The OPP anticipates being involved in more than 50 Push for Change events throughout 2016 and 2017.
  • Youth homelessness is an issue in all communities policed by the OPP. All communities have a role to play in mitigating the underlying risk factors that lead to the vulnerability of homelessness.
  • Ontario's Mobilization & Engagement Model for Community Policing (OMEM) provides a framework for coordinated, collaborative action across the province to address issues affecting community safety and well-being. The OMEM emphasizes all community members working with police to make and keep neighbourhoods safer, more secure and healthier.
  • Studies confirm that:
    • a dollar invested now in crime prevention and early intervention is estimated to avoid seven dollars spent on incarceration, victim services and other associated future costs, and
    • one dollar allocated for enriched child care saves $17 in future criminal justice costs (Crime Prevention in Ontario: A Framework for Action).

 

About the OPP
The Ontario Provincial Police is one of North America's largest deployed police services with more than 6,200 sworn officers, 3,100 civilian employees and 800 Auxiliary officers. It provides essential services that ensure the safety and security of the people of the Province of Ontario. More information is available at www.opp.ca.

About Joe Roberts
From living under a bridge and homeless in 1989 to becoming a former President and CEO of a successful multimedia company, Joe is an advocate, author and Executive Director of Push for Change. Thriving on the idea of Being On Purpose, Joe is committed to helping young people break through their most difficult barriers. An inspirational speaker that has delivered his keynote to over one million people in the last 15 years, Joe delivers thought-leading principles that are critical to success. Visit The Push for Change to learn about The Push for Change campaign.

Additional resources
For more information about funds raised, visit The Upstream Project.

For information on youth homelessness, visit:
The Homeless Hub
Raising the Roof
Ministry of Housing

 

 

SOURCE Ontario Provincial Police

For further information: Media Contacts: OPP, Const. Mario Gratton, Phone: (613) 632-2729, Email: Mario.gratton@opp.ca; The Push for Change, Ms. Irene Carroll, Phone: (416) 366-5473, Email: Irene@iseeassociates.ca

RELATED LINKS
http://www.opp.ca

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