Marc Smith has taken on another 30 Days Adventures campaign after completing a month’s worth of food truck meals earlier this fall and 30 days of local exploration this summer. His latest challenge is to complete acts of kindness every day for 30 days. From handing out flowers to strangers to buying cups of coffee for strangers, Marc has partnered with individuals and companies to help them give where they live.
I have joined Marc for one day during each of his “30 Day” campaigns and today we met up with Michelle Clausius of Covenant House to learn more about their work in our community.
Covenant House’s Mission: “Providing love and hope to Vancouver’s street youth. We help youth aged 16 – 24 who have fled physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse, those who have been forced from their homes or those who have aged out of foster care.”
Michelle is the Associate Director, Development & Communications and I have corresponded with her before about Covenant House campaigns. She recently sent me information about their Sleep Out happening on Thursday.
“It started in New York last year and it’s the youth’s reaction to the Sleep Out that made us want to do it.” Michelle told us that she knows one night isn’t going to make up a full experience but it’s this action, by local business leaders and celebrities, that will draw awareness and raise funds for Covenant House both in Vancouver and in other cities across North America.
About 20 participants are confirmed in Vancouver including Jillian Harris, Bob & Ryan Lenarduzzi, and Elaine Lui who have each been collecting pledges for their Sleep Out. The group have dinner at Covenant House over on Pender Street then they’ll have a roundtable discussion with youth from the shelter’s Rights of Passage program. Then it’s out the back door to spend the night outside behind the building. All those who will be sending updates to Twitter can keep their phones otherwise they need to be surrendered, as the youth do when they go to Covenant House.
“Because we’re privately funded, over half our revenue for the year comes in November and December,” Michelle added. Initiatives like this and the Christmas Backpack drive make a big difference.
Marc and I decided to pick up some items that are listed on the Christmas Backpack wish list before we met up with Michelle. We were drawn to the request for journals since we’re both bloggers and Marc’s been honing his writing skills over the course of his 30 Days campaigns. Michelle told us that it was a helpful pick as journaling is a therapeutic outlet and it encourages creativity.
“The blog gives our youth workers an opportunity to really feel a part of what we’re doing in the fundraising department because they write a lot of the stories, which is awesome!”
I also gave Michelle a copy of my new book, which is about blogging for business. I think the Covenant House Blog is fantastic and they could probably write their own book on blogging for non-profits.
Michelle said that when they launched their blog they immediately saw a jump in website traffic and donations. “When we started using Twitter and Facebook then it kind of went even further, that really seemed to help.” Frequent blog posts help with search engine optimization and give people a reason to come back to their site. Overall, the blog also gives those at Covenant House the opportunity to tell their stories.
After our chat, Michelle gave us a tour of the location at Seymour and Drake so that we could see their facilities and understand the safe environment they have built for the youth. We then parted ways. Marc went back to his office to document our day and I did the same. Another day, another learning experience where I discover more hard-working and dedicated people to admire in this city.
Update Read Marc’s blog post about the day.
A Milestone Post
This post is actually the 5,000th post I have published on Miss604.com. Over the last 8 years the most popular tags and categories I have used to classify my posts include: Events, Non-Profit, Cheap Things to Do, Contests, Charity, Photography, and History. These are exactly the topics I love covering the most and sharing with my audience. I thought this post would be fitting content for this milestone and I’m thankful for the opportunities I have been given over the years to travel, meet talented people, learn more about local businesses, support non-profits, and share my passion. Thank you for reading!