I Raised $37,000 Sleeping Outside

For 5 days, I gave up the comforts of home and lived off the generosity of others. This is what I learned.

My Top 3 Reasons Why You Need to Volunteer Now

This past month I had the opportunity of volunteering with the University of Regina’s 5 Days for the Homeless campaign. This campaign raises money for Carmichael Outreach, a local non-profit organization that provides supports for people experiencing homelessness in Regina. Collectively, this fundraiser raised close to $37,000, beating the goal of $35,000 that we had set out to raise.

This experience was empowering in many different ways. It allowed me to meet new people, pushed me outside my comfort zone and most importantly, it gave me a new perspective that allowed me to humanize the cause that I was raising funds for. Throughout the five days, I tried to think of the most meaningful aspects of my experience and I have compiled a short list of reasons of why volunteering is crucial for your personal and societal growth and happiness.

1. Forming Relationships:

By volunteering for a cause that you care about, you get the chance to surround yourself with like-minded individuals. You have an opportunity to form life-long friendships with your fellow volunteers, and it allows you to meet the people that are benefitting from your support.

2. Broadened Perspective:

Volunteering can be a great chance for you to accelerate your personal growth and teach you humility. By meeting and getting to know new people from varying walks of life, you have the opportunity to gain a new perspective or breakdown any preconceived notions you may have had before volunteering. Empathy is a powerful emotion and a crucial component of personal connection.

3. Doing to others as you would have them do to you:

While volunteering with 5 Days for the Homeless, I had the opportunity to spend time with people experiencing homelessness in Regina. The stories these individuals shared with me were inspiring and had a great impact on me. In particular, one group of men that have used the services of Carmichael Outreach were eager to spend time with our group of volunteers and help us collect money. They were comforted that the funds being raised were going to a good cause and they wanted to get involved. This group of men were the most honest, humble and giving group of people, and my time with them will always be memorable to me.

The people you see outside panhandling or walking the streets are human beings, just the same as you or I, and they are entitled to love, compassion and conversation. Like many other issues in our society, homelessness often has a stigma attached to it. As a volunteer it is important to get to know the people you are advocating for, to remind yourself that everyone deserves respect, and to truly understand the difference that you can make.

I learned many things from my experience with 5 Days for the Homeless that I will forever cherish. I encourage everyone to volunteer in their community, in any way they can. Volunteering is giving and empowering and is so much more than contributing your time and money. By lending your voice you are encouraging others to get involved, you open up your heart to new people with different experiences than your own, and you are altering your mind to think bigger and take energetic and inspired action in the cause your are supporting.

To learn more or get involved with Carmichael Outreach, click here.

"By lending your voice you are encouraging others to get involved.. you open up your heart to new people with different experiences than your own, and you alter your mind to think bigger"

-H&B Production Assistant, Julie Ready