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Push for change for the homeless


The OPP are waiting to welcome Joe Rob- erts to Ontario. In his younger days Roberts used to be one of Canada’s homeless. His “living ad- dress” was under a bridge. Now he’s a suc- cessful businessman, former president and chief executive officer of his own successful multimedia company, but he still remem- bers the hardships that he went through three decades ago. The same situation that many Canadians who are homeless now must endure. He wants to do something about that. A chance meeting on a business flight fromVancouver to Calgary brought Roberts in contact with Dr. Sean Richardson, a for- mer elite athlete who now holds a doctorate in performance psychology. Their chat together during that flight re- sulted in the creation ofThe Push for Change project. “Both of us, in our different ways, have always lived in the context that anything is possible,” stated Roberts. The overall goals are: to inspire Canadians “with the idea that anything is possible”; raisemoney and help stimulate change “for a significant cause”; and meet with people, both one-on-one and in groups, to encour- age them to take personal action themselves “to help make a difference.” Which led in the end to Roberts push- ing a shopping cart 9000 kilometres across Canada, from Newfoundland to B.C., to promote public awareness of the plight of homeless people. He is trundling through southernQuébec now and expects to arrive in EasternOntario, in Hawkesbury, on Sept. 22. Plans are afoot for a welcome to Ontario gathering when Roberts arrives, after which he will continue on his way along County Road 17 towards Ottawa. Rally point for the welcome is 10 a.m. at the Monument de la Francophonie at 87 John Street. Police and others, including special guest Walter Gretzky, will join Roberts for a short walk fromConfederation Park over the John Street Bridge into Hawkesbury, and on to the Robert Hartley Sports Complex at 425 Cartier Blvd. During a noon-hour ceremony, Roberts and various local dignitaries will make brief speeches about the project and the issue of homelessness in Canada and in the Prescott- Russell region. An evening fundraiser, including a sports memorabilia silent auction, will take place at the Royal Canadian Legion branch hall on Nelson Street. Continuing on along County Road 17 to- wards Ottawa, Roberts is expected to arrive in Rockland on Sept. 25. Russell County OPP have a barbecue welcome and fundraiser planned at the Jean-Marc Lalonde Arena, starting at 10 a.m. Roberts then heads on for Ottawa and from there turns west to make his way to British Columbia, with the goal of arriving in Vancouver on Sept. 30, 2017, completing his 9000-kilometre trek after 17 months on the road. For more details on Roberts’ journey and to keep track of him en route, go to www.

Joe Roberts is on the road to raise awareness of the plight of Canada’s homeless people. His cross-country journey brings him to Hawkesbury on Sept. 22, on his way through Prescott-Russell up to Ottawa before he heads west. —photo submitted

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