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Homeless Youth in CanadaThe plight of homeless youth in Canada is a recent issue in the public eye. The increased representation and awareness have garnered celebrity support, such as from Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds. The married couple has committed to donating $500,000 in total to the cause. Covenant House Vancouver and Toronto, foundations dedicated to opening their door to the homeless youth in Canada, are the lucky recipients.

The Issue

The first majority study done on homeless youth in Canada, “Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey,” was conducted just four years ago in 2016. A recent study found that the youth make up around 20% of the entire homeless population in Canada.

These children often experience housing instability and child abuse prior to their homelessness experience. Once on the streets, children under 16 — around 40% of the homeless youth in Canada — struggle through increased adversity. Further, various forms of oppression often couple homelessness. A staggering number of these children identify as POC, LGBTQ+, and of many other marginalized groups.

However, organizations and philanthropists alike have stepped up to address this dire situation.

Covenant House

Covenant House is an international organization that provides support and aid for homeless youth in Canada. The organization’s mission statement is: “Covenant House launched a federation-wide initiative to design and implement a cutting-edge, data-informed strategy to help even more of our kids achieve meaningful, long-term outcomes.”

It especially focuses on offering services to members of the LGBTQ+ community, POC, and abuse victims. The organization provides more than just direct support for these young individuals. Covenant House commits to restructuring data processing regarding homeless youth, reviewing methods of information analysis and generation, and finding the best performance measurement strategies. The organization works toward short-term as well as long-term change.

Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively’s Involvement

The serious issue of youth homelessness in Canada deeply struck Ryan Reynolds, a Canadian himself. In response, Reynolds and Blake Lively decided to donate $500,000 to the cause. The couple even matches donations up to $375,000 before the end of 2020 to encourage others to donate.

The choice of where the funds should go was a personal one. Reynolds has a long-time relationship with the Covenant House. The dedication they put into their work and the extensive impact they wield in the community inspired his “investment.”

In the interview done by Covenant House, he described the donation as an investment rather than a monetary donation into homeless youth in Canada. Reynolds stated, “The young people who pass through the doors of Covenant House more often than not have a story marked by extraordinary trauma. They are so much more than that trauma. They have so much to offer the world. Matching this gift is saying you believe in them. You believe in the power of compassion to transform the trajectory of a human being.”

The CEO of Covenant House Vancouver, Krista Thompson, expressed her gratitude for the donation and continued relationship with the couple. Thompson remarked, “Ryan and Blake truly understand that young people who are facing homelessness deserve unconditional love and absolute respect.” The money will be used to assist with youth experiencing homelessness and fund much of the research that is occurring to combat the issue of homelessness as a whole.

Manasi Singh
Photo: Flickr

chime for change
Haute fashion house Gucci held a benefit on June 3 at its Manhattan location on 5th Avenue in honor of its charity program, Chime for Change. Many influential celebrities were in supportive attendance such as Beyonce and actress Blake Lively. The event celebrated the charity’s first anniversary, marking a year of explosive growth and international charitable influence.

Chime for Change is a charity and international women’s empowerment and awareness campaign sponsored by Gucci, cofounded by Salma Hayek Pinault, Beyonce Knowles-Carter and Frida Giannini, Gucci’s creative director. The campaign is partnered with charity powerhouses such as the Kering Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Facebook, Catapult, Twitter, Hearst Magazines and Kellogg’s.

Gucci pledged to donate $1 million in proceeds from its global perfume sales; Gucci fragrance customers can donate $5 from each purchase to various projects, charities and organizations supporting justice, health or education for women and young girls. It also set up an official Chime for Change website, through which direct donations to the latter programs can be collected online. The campaign is partnered with Catapult, which connects donors and volunteers directly to over 50 organizations throughout 38 countries worldwide.

These organizations are primarily focused upon the formerly mentioned goals of female education, justice and health; the program has thus far contributed significantly to these programs, and its progress is meticulously recorded online at Chimeforchange.org/impact-report. For example, the program provided enough funding for midwives in Cambodia to reduce the country’s high rate of maternal deaths during childbirth. It has also nearly completed gathering the funding necessary to both create homes for young girls in India and provide free, sanitary cesarean sections to impoverished women at the St. Damien Hospital in Haiti (a nation in which one in 10 mothers die during childbirth.)

Another page of the website tracks donation progress by percentage for various exigent causes, such as providing health services for 35 rescued victims of human trafficking at a time and funding peer education in Spain to prevent female genital mutilation, which affects over 100 million children globally.

Chime for Change makes it simple for customers around the world to easily contribute to many influential causes worldwide; it represents a meaningful and influential step towards alleviating world poverty.

– Arielle Swett

Sources: Chime for Change, Huffington Post, Catapult
Photo: Closet On The Go