Tottenham students urged to ‘Push for Change’

January 4, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Eric Penkala

Students at St. Thomas Aquinas High School gathered recently to do their part to keep Canadian youth off the streets.
The students were visited by Joe Roberts, who talked to them about the importance of making a difference in their community. Roberts spent a portion of his teenage years battling substance abuse while living under a bridge, and now he is looking to put an end to youth homelessness once and for all.
For the past seven months, Roberts has pushed a shopping cart across Canada to raise money for his Push for Change Foundation, which he founded to help bring awareness to youth homelessness. Along the way, Roberts has raised thousands of dollars while stopping at several schools and community events to help get kids involved in his movement.
Locally, Roberts spoke to a full gymnasium of students about how he ended up on the streets as a teenager, how a police officer helped him turn his life around, and why it was essential for everyone to pitch in to help make a difference.
“Not everybody can push a shopping cart across Canada,” Roberts told the students. “But each and every one of us can push for change.”
Naturally, the students had plenty to ask about the walk itself, and Roberts was quick to answer a question at the front of many student’s minds.
“So far, I have been through 10 pairs of shoes,” said Roberts. “I expect to go through at least 10 more.”
After his presentation, Roberts and his wife/campaign manager, Marie, led the school on a two-kilometre walk through Tottenham. The OPP closed a section of Tottenham Road so the students could safely trek to Tim Hortons and back to St. Thomas Aquinas High School. Several “Push for Change” chants erupted during the walk, with students enthusiastically encouraging donations to the cause.
Roberts thanked the school for its participation, and stressed the importance of not giving up the fight to end youth homelessness.
“Not every childhood is created equal,” said Roberts. “So the push for change must continue.”
Roberts began his walk in St. John’s, N.L. in May of 2016, and since then has pushed his shopping cart nearly 4,500 kilometres. He walks an average of 24 kilometres a day, and the stop in Tottenham was the 236th day of his journey. Roberts says he believes the next leg of his walk will be the most difficult, as he journeys through Northern Ontario during the harsh Canadian winter. He expects to continue his “Push for Change” until September 2017, when he finally reaches Vancouver.
If you are interested in donating to the Push for Change Foundation, visit

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