An inspiring rags to riches story is coming to Sidney next week thanks to the Saanich Peninsula chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women.
Joe Roberts, a former addict and resident of Vancouver’s Downtown East Side who transformed himself into a company CEO and now a motivational speaker, is coming to the Bodine Hall at the Mary Winspear Centre on Jan. 22.
Recently, Roberts has taken on the huge challenge of a trek across Canada this spring from Newfoundland to Vancouver. Prior to coming to Sidney he will have completed a walk from Calgary to Edmonton in preparation for the trek which is promoting his Push for Change initiative. The initiative is designed to create a dialogue in communities across the nation about poverty and addiction and create initiatives to ensure young people do not end up on the streets.
“The provincial organization of University Women wanted to focus on addressing the high level of young people living in poverty in our province,” explained CFUW Saanich Peninsula President Donna Miller. “Hosting of this event is just one way to get the message out that B.C. has the second highest rate of children in poverty of any province in Canada, second only to Manitoba. We hope to see lots of young people from the community attend Joe’s talk as well as adults.”
Miller went on to explain that the provincial association of CFUW asked all their clubs to focus on family poverty in their own communities, and the Saanich Peninsula chapter as well as others in Greater Victoria have been doing just that.
“We spent the fall learning about the issues through speakers from Beacon Community Services, the Saanich School District and the Salvation Army,” she said. “Both the Victoria and Saanich clubs have been working together and the intent of all this is to get organizations working together to address the issue of youth poverty.”
She noted that the Victoria chapter of CFUW will be hosting an all candidates meeting in April prior to the provincial election asking questions of the candidates regarding their ideas on addressing the issue.
“We all need to get together and talk about how we can help youth,” she said.
This isn’t the first time Roberts will be spreading his message on the Peninsula. A couple years ago the Royal Oak Rotary Club organized an event called Harvesting Hope for Woodwynn Farms at which Roberts was the keynote speaker. The event raised $20,000 for an irrigation system for the therapeutic community.
Roberts’ public event at the Mary Winspear Centre is on Tuesday, Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults and the event is free for youth. For more information on the Push for Change initiative visit www.thepushforchange.com.