In this, the season of giving, many are wondering what they can do to help make a difference in the lives of others.
Once the gifts are unwrapped, the Christmas feast is consumed and the New Year has been rung in, continue that spirit of goodwill by mobilizing a team of family members and friends to help raise money for the hungry, the homeless and those who are hurting.
This can be accomplished by participating in the Coldest Night of the Year Walk, coming up on February 25.
This year, the local walk will benefit Pictou County Roots for Youth Society, and the group’s executive director couldn’t be more pleased.
“Every chance we have to be part of an event like this is an opportunity for us to tell our story in the community,” Stacey Dlamini said.
The average stay at Roots House is eight weeks. “So we’re not a Band Aid. We keep them until we’re confident where they’re going (when they leave) is better than where they came from,” she said of the youth who use the services provided at Roots House.
The Coldest Night of the Year Walk will help with this mission because funds raised in New Glasgow will go there. The Pictou County Roots for Youth Society is 100 per cent funded by the community, with support from the United Way of Pictou County, and receives no regular government funding.
In previous years, the CNOY Walk has benefitted the Life Shelter. The announcement of that facility closing several weeks ago has meant the funds raised through CNOY are directed to Pictou County Roots for Youth Society instead, an irony that is not lost on Dlamini.
“Life Shelter closed but the need is still there. The Coldest Night of the Year Walk is a national fundraiser whose purpose is to fund issues of homelessness. With the closure of the Life Shelter, Pictou County Roots for Youth is the only remaining agency tackling homelessness directly in our community, therefore the partnership between Roots for Youth and the Coldest Night made sense.”
In 2015, Dlamini said, 278 walkers participated locally. “That mobilizes a lot of resources to tackle homelessness head on.”
Dlamini is no stranger to working with the under-privileged. While only in her current role for fewer than two years, she and her husband, Buhle, ran a “people development” consulting company in South Africa where they worked with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds facing tough realities.
Today, back in her native Pictou County, Dlamini sees her role at the Pictou County Roots for Youth Society as continuing that purpose.
This year’s CNOY Walk will start at Christian Fellowship Church on Abercrombie Road. The route will be well marked out and the turnaround point will be the New Glasgow Farmer’s Market where washrooms and warm beverages will be available for all. Participants have an opportunity to participate in the 2 km, 5 km and 10 km route. For those who don’t want to walk but still want to be a part of the event, there are volunteer opportunities available and sponsorships are available to local businesses. Truly, it is an event that people of all ages and all abilities can enjoy.
“We’d love to raise $30,000 locally,” Dlamini said, “but everything helps.”
Still wondering how to continue the goodwill and spirit of giving that abounds this time of year? Visit https://canada.cnoy.org to find out how you can help.
The Coldest Night of the Year Walk is Saturday, February 25.
It provides each participant the opportunity to:
- walk 2, 5, or 10 km
- fundraise much needed money for a local, hard-serving charity, in this case, Pictou County Roots for Youth Society.
- feel a hint of the challenge faced by those experiencing homelessness – particularly during the winter.
Since 2011, the Coldest Night of the Year has raised over $12 million working with charity partners.
How to get involved:
- Mobilize a team of colleagues, friends or family members
- Challenge each other to raise money
- Prepare to accomplish the remarkable by doing something ordinary
- Visit https://canada.cnoy.org to register to get a pledge form