On February 25, 2017 thousands of Canadians will don their toques, scarves and parkas for The Coldest Night of the Year (CNOY).
It is also Linda’s birthday.
To celebrate she has signed on as the captain of the Happy Birthday Linda team. As the teacher of city hall school a big part of the curriculum is social justice. Linda wanted to lead by example or in this case walk the walk.
The 2, 5, and 10 km walk will occur simultaneously in 114 cities across the nation. The event raises money for charities that work with the hungry, the hurting and the homeless. Funds raised in Edmonton will help programs at The Mustard Seed’s only adult serving social agency in the south, The Neighbour Centre (TNC). The facility is a drop in centre and offers a safe environment out of the elements. It offers meals, showers, laundry services, employment along with reintegration services for former inmates.
35 year old Chad credits his survival to The Neighbour Centre, “I would have definitely starved to death if I didn’t have a place to go.” Estranged from his family, he is grateful for the friendly staff, “They are like family, or pretty good neighbours.”
Back at city hall, Linda hopes to inspire even more good neighbours. She says after the city program, many of the students go back to school transformed.
“Some collect 300 pairs of underwear, write message of hope to The Mustard Seed, they become engaged citizens who are empathetic.”
Many of her students have sponsored Linda on her walk for CNOY. Some show up at city hall with loonies. Others have donated money from juice boxes. She’s grateful for the financial support, which she says is equally as important as awareness. At the end of each class Linda says more youth are now agents of change. “Because we now have 25 more students with a deeper understanding. Yes, they are sad. Yes, they are disappointed others don’t have as much. Yes, they are grateful but now they also have hope. If they have hope, we can move forward and end poverty.”
To donate, volunteer or for more details on The Coldest Night of the Year: www.cnoy.org/edmontonsouth