A teenager in Yellowknife is working to raise funds for programs that support people experiencing homelessness in the city.
Grade 10 student Sara Morris is a youth ambassador for Raising the Roof, a national charity that aims to prevent homelessness across Canada. She said she learned about the role from her guidance counsellor at École St Patrick High School.
“Researching it more, I found that I was really interested in it,” she said. “I wanted to help in any way I possibly could.”
Through Raising the Roof’s annual toque campaign, taking place on February 1 this year, Morris plans to raise money for Home Base Yellowknife, a local organization that provides housing and support to youth.
The campaign is held on the first Tuesday of every February, where volunteers across the country sell toques with proceeds benefitting partner agencies.
“Bringing awareness and light to this is very important and something I am very passionate about,” Morris said. “I want to get Yellowknife involved.”
Morris said beyond the toque campaign, she wants to help local shelters and other programs directly serving vulnerable people with whatever they need. She also wants more people in the city to get involved.
Morris said homelessness is an issue that impacts many people in Yellowknife and Canada.
“It affects more people than I thought and it affected more people closer to me than I thought,” she said. “Seeing that and opening my eyes to really looking deep into it after learning about this, I got more and more interested in seeing what I could do locally.”
According to Yellowknife’s most recent point-in-time homeless count, 312 people said they were experiencing homelessness in 2021. Of those surveyed, one in five were children or dependents, and half were experiencing chronic homelessness.
Anyone interested in purchasing a toque from Raising the Roof with proceeds going towards Home Base Yellowknife can do so on the Team NWT section of the organization’s website.