The Push for Change Inspires the SMCDSB Community

The Push for Change Inspires the SMCDSB Community
Posted on 12/23/2016

Picture this. It’s the day before Christmas break, students and staff are anxiously waiting for that last bell to ring. Normally, students wouldn’t be able to concentrate on anything else other than Christmas presents and sleeping in. However, on Thursday, December 22, students and staff at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School in Tottenham were so mesmerized by Push for Change founder Joe Roberts, you could hear a pin drop.

In 1989, Joe found himself homeless and addicted to drugs in East Vancouver. He would push a shopping cart around the city, collecting cans to support his habit. It wasn’t until one day, a man said to him, “There’s more to you than you can see.” From this moment, Joe made the decision to change - the decision to make something of himself.

Now a successful businessman, Joe has made it his mission to end youth homelessness and prevent our young generations from ending up just like he was. On May 1, 2016, Joe started the Push for Change - a 9,000 km walk from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Vancouver, British Columbia, all the while, pushing a shopping cart to raise awareness and funding for youth homelessness.

pushforchangeIn anticipation of Joe’s arrival to St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School, students and staff arranged a basketball game fundraiser and collected money to help Joe with his campaign.  Upon his arrival, all attendees were in complete awe of his rags to riches story and left them inspired to participate. After presenting Joe with the funds raised from their Push for Change basketball game, students and staff joined him outside to push the shopping cart and help get him a little closer to his goal.

The Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board would like to first thank Joe Roberts for inspiring our Catholic community with his incredible story and campaign. Secondly, thanks to the students and staff in our board who have organized events to support Joe’s amazing cause.

The Push for Change will continue until Joe reaches Vancouver on September 30, 2017. To find out more about the campaign, and how you can help, visit the