Inadum Monale Sira-Wiwa and Sean Joe-Ezigbo
On November 27, 15 boarding students and four boarding staff slept out on campus in support of the initiatives conducted by the Youth Services Bureau and to raise awareness about the issue of youth homlessness in Ottawa. Two students share their personal accounts about what this experience meant to them below.
On November 27, I participated in the Youth Services Bureau’s StayUp Ottawa event along with 14 other students here in Boarding. We were going to be sleeping outside behind the Gillin Residence at 0 degrees celsius to try to get a very small insight into what homeless youth in Ottawa have to endure during the winter months. Even though we were sleeping outside, we had a lot of warm equipment, a safe backyard and plenty of resources that many of the youth on the streets do not have. This experience really helped show me the importance of community because even though we were outside in the snow, having my fellow boarders around me and seeing all the people on the StayUP Ottawa zoom call made the entire experience much more memorable. It also made me really grateful for everything I have because I could be in a very different situation and this experience made me acknowledge that. As an Ashbury student, I am appreciative for the opportunities that I have and the experience that I have gained from this experience.
Inadum Monale Sira-Wiwa
This experience was very insightful and a major learning curve for me, as it allowed me to both sympathize as well as empathize for several homeless people who reside in Canada and all over the world. Not only that, but I believe I have learned very valuable lessons that I will carry on through my life. I have learned to appreciate every little thing that I have tremendously because a lot of people out there are struggling and do not have the luxuries I do. This experience was very memorable and I had a great time because I knew that it was for a good cause and I was helping to raise awareness for such a well-known and well-appreciated foundation. I am not one who is very accustomed to cold weather and snow, but I had to put all of that aside because I knew it was for a good cause and seeing the amazing turn out of people that came to show support was really an amazing feeling to know that these many people care. I wish everyone could get this experience and understand truly how much they were helping by doing even the littlest thing such as sleeping outside in the snow. I cannot express how spectacular this was and how much I learned from this, but I am incredibly grateful to Ashbury for allowing me to have such an insightful and impactful experience.