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The Push for Change: They did it!

On May 1, 2016 The New B.P jumped on board and for 17 months followed Joe as he walked across Canada in Support of Homeless Youth, finishing in Vancouver B.C on Sept 30, 2017. Below you will also find loads of information, videos and links to pretty much everything about Joe’s trek and homelessness in Canada, enjoy I have.

Joe Roberts, a true Canadian Hero.


What was it?

The Push for Change was a 17 month-long-adventure started on the east coast in St. John’s. This incredible journey was born from the imagination of Joe Roberts, a successful Canadian businessman. Joe Roberts experienced homelessness as a teen and young adult in Vancouver after his father died and he was left without any support. Although it was a rough time, he was able to connect with the right people who could help him get back on his feet.

On August 4 2016, Day 96 while in Fredericton, NB, Joe spoke at Old Government House, watch and listen to his talk below 

What challenge?

The Push for Change’s challenge was simply to cross the country from east to west, an approximate 9,000 km walk. He started from St. John’s, NL on May 1, 2016, and ended in Vancouver, BC, on September 29, 2017. Joe Roberts walked and pushed a shopping cart, often a symbol of homelessness, the whole way.

Why did he do it?

This long walk across Canada aimed to increase awareness of youth homelessness and to raise funds to end it.
There were three main goals behind The Push for Change:

  • Engage the country in conversations about homelessness;
  • Empower youth;
  • Spark a grassroots movement to prevent youth homelessness in Canada.

On Day 517, the final day we walked into Downtown Vancouver and completed our 17 month trek across the country, watch the video below. Thank you to everyone who joined us yesterday and during every other event we held across Canada over the last 517 days. This is only the beginning. We will continue working to prevent, reduce and #endyouthhomelessness  Thank you, #CANADA  

What’s the link between Raising the Roof and Push for Change?

We are proud and honoured to say that part of the funds raised during this amazing year and a half challenge will go to Raising the Roof’s Upstream project. (See more about the Upstream Project). We truly believe that preventing homelessness today is the key to ending homelessness tomorrow.

We couldn’t have made it across Canada without our support vehicles keeping us safe and warm. Thanks so much!  – Woodridge Ford

Dedicated thanks for help and support:

We would like to thank “The Push for Change” and Joe Roberts, for his generous donation. Thank you to each and every person who made a donation, liked/shared a picture on our social networks, joined the challenge and shared our story.

Reminder: If you couldn’t participate in this incredible challenge, or if you want to continue to support us and prevent homelessness, you can do so by visiting us here: The Push for Change

 Watch the video interview by Sgt Kerry Schmidt of the Ontario Provincial Police – Police provinciale de l’Ontario below who followed behind Joe as he walked across Ontario. 

Article by Raising The Roof Posted Oct 5, 2017

Images from along the way



Walters Group – Push for Change Grande Finale

680 News – Youth homelessness advocate completes cross-country walk pushing a shopping cart

The Canadian Press – Cross-country shopping cart

The Homeless Hub – The Push for Change: St. John’s to Vancouver, Challenge Complete

Raising The Roof –  The Push for Change: They did it!

CBC.ca – Vancouver man pushes shopping cart across Canada to end youth homelessness

CBC.ca – Former homeless man pushing a cart across Canada to raise money and awareness

Below is the original article Posted May 1, 2016

The Push For Change Mission 


Joe Roberts, former homeless youth turned successful entrepreneur is paying it forward by pushing a shopping cart 9,000 km’s across Canada to prevent youth homelessness. This national awareness trek, dubbed The Push for Change, will see over 400 community and school engagements.

Our Community Champions are superior at organizing people and events! They bring together vibrant energetic people to engage and empower their communities! Supporting the development of young people is what we are truly passionate about.


push for twoTHE PROBLEM: It is estimated that there are approximately 65,000 young people across Canada who are homeless or living at homeless shelters and thousands more who are at-risk each year.

Youth homelessness isn’t always visible. You may not see it in your community because youth may have found temporary shelter at a friends’ house, or they have migrated to a larger city. They typically come from homes characterized by family conflict of some kind, disruptions to school and family life, neglect and poverty. Many  are in the throws of adolescent development, and lack life experience and the skills and supports to live independently, including the ability to secure employment and housing.

Homeless youth are also more vulnerable to exploitation. Virtually every young person who becomes homeless was in school at one point and was in contact with an adult (teacher, guidance counselor, coach) who knew something was wrong. It makes sense for prevention to start in our schools!


AWARENESSto draw as many people from the community as possible so they may hear Joe’s personal story of his life as a homeless youth.

All will be inspired as he shares his story of transformation from adversity to success, his possibility mindset that “there is more inside each and every one of us than we can see”, and his vision to help prevent youth from living a life like he did. Youth will be empowered and challenged to stay engaged in their families, their schools and their communities.

Adults will be educated and inspired to think differently about youth homelessness and the power of keeping youth engaged.

FUNDRAISEIf every Canadian donated .50¢ during the Push for Change trek, $17,000,000 will be raised to support The Upstream Project, and other eligible organizations enabling the start of a school-prevention model in Canada that aims to prevent youth homelessness.

All funds raised during the trek will be allocated to The Upstream Project, and, where an organization who works with youth-at-risk has teamed with the Community Champion to plan and be a part of the community event, (or are the Community Champion themselves) 50% of funds raised will be donated to that eligible organization.


Criteria for eligible organizations:

  • must support youth at risk (ages 13-24) of becoming homeless
  • free_3526102Emergency shelters,
  • Youth drop-in centres
  • Outreach services provider and/or Transitional housing initiative organizations
  • must be a not-for-profit organization with a Canada Revenue Agency charitable tax number
  • must have a Chimp account for direct deposit.

To be added to our event calendar, please email Marie Roberts, Campaign Director and include your Organization/Company Name and Host City or Town for event. Marie will contact you and confirm availability.

YOUR PLANNING COMMITTEE…continue reading »»»»»»

Article posted May 1, 2016  – Last update Oct 6, 2017


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