The Push for Change

26 05 2012

The Push for Change | The Push for Change.

Passions are amazing.

Possibilities are awesome.

But without action, we are only left to dream… and nothing changes.

Today I went to a retreat as a member of my local Scout Council leadership team (what can I say?) The keynote speaker was Joe Roberts. He is now a consultant, but draws from his own background as a troubled youth, living on the streets of Vancouver, a junkie. He speaks well. He’s careful to not ask for sympathy. He doesn’t need it. He’s a successful businessman. Now.

Instead his message is that there are many youth out there who have made some of the same poor choices he made, or who have by some other means been forced into living on the street. Having come through that and grown from it, he is keen to offer that illustration of positive change to others. Obviously this was a message that resonated well with the gathered Scout leaders. Scouting is all about offering positive opportunities for growth to youth.

This summer (1st of July) he’ll be pushing a modified shopping cart from Calgary to Vancouver. Symbolic of the carts pushed on the streets of Vancouver by people collecting cans for recycling to feed their habits. This one has been engineered for the event, and will collect money for the charity Roberts has co-founded. But this is only the start. A trial run for his May 2013 goal of walking coast to coast – finishing up in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, where he had his epiphany and turned his life around. He is careful to acknowledge others who helped in that rebirth. His mother, and a kindly old gent called “Gus” in the DES who not only gave him the cigarette and toonie he was bumming off him, but also a pearl of wisdom: “you could be something great”.

His pitch to Scouting wasn’t for money or access to our membership as fundraisers. He’s confident of his organisation’s own ability to do that. What he was looking for was engagement with Canada’s youth. He’s aware that unless youth engage with his cause he’s largely just some old bloke pushing a cart across Canada to no great purpose. Kudos to him for that.

I wish him well, and look forward to the YouTube awareness he expects from his trial run from Calgary.

His “day job” as motivational speaker can be followed at Skid Row CEO.

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3 responses

28 05 2012
lanceleuven

Wow fair play to the guy. What a story.

28 05 2012
Quieter Elephant

Yeah – I liked that he wasn’t looking for pity. He was clear that he’d succeeded… and therefore anyone could turn around their life.

20 08 2012
Former homeless man walks from Calgary to Vancouver – British Columbia – CBC News « Quieter Elephant

[…] may recall I wrote about Joe Roberts a little while ago. Check here for a […]

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