Spend a night in the cold to end youth homelessness

Do you have what it takes to spend a night in the cold to end youth homelessness?

360ºkids, an organization that offers programs and supports to homeless and at-risk youth in York Region, is asking that question as it prepares to host its eighth annual 360°Experience.

The event, to be held Thursday, March 4 from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., will be held virtually. Organizers invite you to take part from outside your home, in your car or on your balcony or porch and help raise $100,000 to support programs for homeless youth.

The At-Home 360°Experience Student Experience provides opportunities for high school students to earn one volunteer hour for every $100 raised and five hours for completing the event. Students can earn additional hours for completing elective tasks. The experience also provides an opportunity for students to learn what life is like for some of their peers. “You may not know it, but in your own schools there are probably classmates that don’t have a safe place to stay,” the organization says. “They have to balance school, a social life and the stress of finding a safe place to sleep at night.”

The At-Home 360°Experience invites community members to experience some of the harsh realities a homeless youth faces when they don’t have somewhere safe to go. Participant will receive a real scenario faced by one of the young people the organization supports.

360ºkids serves more than 3,500 young people. It was named one of Canada’s Best Charities 2020 by Maclean’s magazine and also landed in the Top 10 of Canada’s Best Charities in the Youth Charities category. The name ‘360ºkids’ refers to the comprehensive approach the organization takes to help at-risk youth and surround them with care as they require a wide range of supports to help rebuild their lives.

Nearly 300 young people are homeless in York Region, 360ºkids reports. A $15 donation provides a young person with three hot meals at the organization’s home base drop-in centre; $75 gives one young person access to emergency housing bedding; and $100 covers the cost of two hours or professional counselling.

To participate in 360°Experience, you must have access to a cell phone with a working number, data/ Wi-Fi access and the ability to open websites and YouTube pages on your device. No fundraising minimum is required. Click here to register online and RSVP your participation or to donate. Contact [email protected] to learn more.

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