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On February 21st, 215 walkers gathered for our second annual Coldest Night of the Year walk! 30 teams helped raise over $25,000 to provide valuable services for at-risk and homeless youth in our community.

Coldest Night of the Year raises awareness about, and funds for, the homeless, hungry, and hurting in 80 communities across Canada. St. John’s is one location, and Choices for Youth works to bring the issues related to youth homelessness at the forefront of conversations in the city. Rosie red cheeks and frosty breaths on a February afternoon go a long way in beginning to change the way we talk about the issues young people in our community face each day.

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At Choices, we often say that no young person would choose to be homeless. The cold, the uncertainty, the danger make for a kind of lifestyle that’s hard to glamourize. With the Coldest Night walk we hope that our friends and families begin to see that too – we’re lucky to get to choose to walk outside in the cold, with hot chocolate refueling along the way, and end with a warm meal. Not all young people can make that choices, and that’s why we do the work we do, and that’s why we walk. We walk to give young people choices about the direction their life takes, knowing that they didn't choose the challenges they face and believing they have huge potential in their next steps.

Thank you to everyone who joined us in the walk. We might have had cold hands, but our hearts were warmed by the overwhelming community support. Together, we can end youth homelessness in St. John’s!