QPID camps out to raise money for youth shelter

Students camped outside Stauffer over five days; QPID has raised just over 40 per cent of $10,000 goal

Four of the students camped outside Stauffer Library as part of 5 Days for Homelessness.
Four of the students camped outside Stauffer Library as part of 5 Days for Homelessness.
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One participant sitting on the library steps.
One participant sitting on the library steps.
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The spring weather couldn’t have come at a more convenient time for students participating in the nationwide 5 Days for Homelessness campaign this year.

Seven members from Queen’s Project on International Development (QPID) spent the past five days outside Stauffer Library in an effort to raise $10,000 for the Kingston Youth Shelter.

Lauren Stacey, co-project director of QPID, said youth homelessness is often invisible in Kingston and on campus because homeless youth may still attend classes or even have a job.

“A lot of people don’t realize it’s happening around us,” said Stacey, ArtSci ’16.

All proceeds from the campaign go to the Kingston Youth Shelter, which can house up to 15 people at a time. The shelter aims to keep youth off the streets and provides a safe environment for them to sleep or escape from an abusive relationship.

Campaign rules dictate that students must sleep outside each night, with only a pillow and a sleeping bag, and only accept food that has been donated to them. Students must also attend all classes and blog about their experiences on www.5days.ca/queens.

Feedback has been mostly positive, Stacey said, but there have also been a few instances where they’ve received negative comments.

“We’re not pretending, we’re not saying that through the five days we understand what it’s like to be homeless — we’re just trying to raise as much money as possible for the homeless shelter,” she said.

Kelsey Ross, co-director of programming for QPID, also weighed in on the negative feedback.

“We’ve had only a couple of negative responses asking, ‘why don’t you just help them get a job?’” said Ross, ArtSci ’15.

“Part of what we’re trying to do is trying to combat that stigma that says ‘they’re just lazy’ when in fact a lot of these youth do have jobs — it’s just not enough [for] a roof over their heads.”

Participants were also helped by 18 volunteers from Queen’s to meet the $10,000 goal. As of early Friday morning, QPID reported it had raised $4,095 and had engaged in many conversations to spread awareness for the cause.

QPID focuses on community-based development issues as well as larger national and international issues. The club recently ran a high school outreach program to increase student awareness of development issues.

As part of the campaign, Executive Director of Kingston Youth Shelter Jason Beaubiah spoke Thursday afternoon at Stauffer’s speaker’s corner, to discuss the diverse demographic of youth who use the shelter.

“QPID is very committed to showing that development is both international and local, and I like that we’re showing that there is this development issue — within Kingston specifically — that we can learn more about,” Ross said.

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