Small steps are all it takes to make a big difference. Campbell River’s Walk With Me project takes this idea literally.
The organization takes people on short journeys through the city. Why? To help folks empathize with their neighbours who don’t have houses to live in and might be struggling with addiction.
Winding up steps and under bridges, Walk With Me guides participants through areas of town that unhoused people and community members call home.
As they wander, they hear stories from people who have or are still struggling with these issues. The people at Walk With Me put story and place together to create understanding and drive change.
Following the walks, participants sit in a circle with Indigenous Elders and share a meal. They talk about what they experienced.
The project was started last year, and now it’s getting solid funding.
Most recently, NexStream 3.0 recognized the project under the “Community Stream” category. NexStream is granting them over $10,000 to support their work.
One of the biggest recent projects to come out of the walks is “Turtle Pods.”
These innovative shelters on wheels will help to replace shopping carts in the unhoused community. They are a safe, clean storage space and sturdy portable shelter big enough to sleep in. They’re in the prototype stage now but should roll out in the fall.
Sharon Karsten is Walk With Me’s project director. She says storytelling helps build awareness, and that brings change. That is particularly true, she says, in smaller places that have been ignored during the toxic drug health crisis.
”We all know that this crisis has a huge impact in our communities, and we wanted to know what we could do to make change,” she’s reported saying in Yahoo News.
The next Walk With Me event is taking place on July 13th. If you’d like to register or donate to help make a change, you can visit their website to learn more.