360 kids

360 kids

March 05, 2015 09:51 ET

York Region Leaders Bracing the Cold to Fight Youth Homelessness With The 360 Experience

360 Experience Challenges Leaders Across the Region to Help in Raising Awareness of Youth Homelessness

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - March 5, 2015) - As the number of youth on the streets continues to rise in York Region, one organization is bringing leaders and decision makers together to experience homelessness first hand as they spend a night outside with nothing more than pocket change.

Tonight, more than 30 community leaders will take the challenge. No extra blankets. No wallets. The temperature is expected to drop to -18 by late evening.

360°kids is a registered charity with a mission to improve the lives of children and at-risk and homeless youth in York Region. To accomplish this, it has created The 360°Experience - an event where participants spend the night on the streets to truly experience the hardships of youth homelessness.

"This event is about raising awareness of the current crisis that we have in our community," said Michael Braithwaite, Executive Director of 360°kids. "York Region is seeing a growing volume of youth on the streets and while there's a lot of good work being done to prevent youth homelessness, a successful strategy must also include increasing housing support, education and youth engagement."

360°kids offers a variety of programs and services including after school jobs, transitional support, counselling and youth outreach. Proceeds from The 360°Experience goes directly towards these programs.

On any given night, it is estimated there are more than 300 youth on the streets in York Region that are exposed to harsh weather conditions and the uncertainties of street life. Recent research conducted indicates that the average age at which participants left home for the first time was 16.

"With no place to go, these kids sometimes resort to sleeping on friends' couches, in garages, in abandoned buildings or even worse, in forests and hidden places right here in our community," said York Regional Police Chief Eric Jolliffe. "It's a harsh reality that we don't often talk about. Every kid in our community matters. Please join me in shining a light on the issue of youth homelessness and do what you can to support 360°kids as they continue to support the at-risk kids in our community."

Starting out at 360°kids Home Base at 8pm tonight, participants will take on the night with only pocket change and basic essentials. Each is given a unique scenario and must find their way from home base to various shelters across York Region. All participants will meet back at 6am to exchange their stories from their experience and speak with media.

"We can't do what we do without this support and the community coming together," Braithwaite said. "It really is a testament to how much our community leader's care."

Last year, 360°kids raised $30,000 and this year has already surpassed its goal of $50,000.00.

"The reality is, for these participants the challenge will end tomorrow but for the real homeless youth out there right now this is a constant struggle every day of their lives."

Media Availability

Media are encouraged to attend the launch at 8 p.m., and be on site as participants return at 6 a.m. Alternatively, please call Laura Fracassi to schedule an interview at 647-984-6136 or lfracassi@sussex-stategy.com.

Location: 360°kids Home Base Youth Drop In Centre - 10944 Yonge St., Richmond Hill.

About 360°kids

360°kids has been helping families, children and youth in our communities for over 25 years. Our primary focus is providing aid and support to at-risk and homeless youth. It is estimated that on any given day there are over 300 homeless youth in York Region. Family breakdown, addiction issues and abuse are just some of the reasons these youth become homeless but regardless of the circumstances, they are just kids and they don't deserve to suffer the way they do. 360°kids operates a variety of programs to give these kids the support they need to reach a state of safety and stability. We inspire them to rebuild their lives and we help them to overcome the obstacles they face. It is a complete 360° approach to assisting these kids and it has been successful in helping thousands of youth become healthy, stable adults who contribute to our communities.

Other Details

360°kids Website http://www.360kids.ca/

360°Experience Event http://360kids.akaraisin.com/Common/Event/Home.aspx?seid=9911&mid=8

Twitter @360kids_york Hashtags #Homelessness #YorkRegion #360Experience

Contact Information