With Joe Roberts
How do we prevent youth from becoming homeless in Canada? Joe Roberts, the self-proclaimed Skid Row CEO, walked across Canada in 2017 to raise awareness about this issue. Joe himself was once homeless and addicted. On a park bench in Vancouver, he asked for help and made a promise to help others. His foundation called The Push for Change is the fulfillment of that promise.

What’s inspiring about Joe’s story? 
Joe went from being homeless on the streets of Vancouver in the 1980’s to being a celebrated Canadian entrepreneur to successfully completing a 17-month charity walk across Canada, pushing a shopping cart to raise awareness and funds to prevent youth homelessness.

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Notes and Quotes from Joe Roberts (paraphrased)

Joe says he grew up not really thinking he was good enough and finds that a lot of people who end up in addiction or on the street have similar feelings.

By the time Joe was in his early 20’s he says he was one of those typical people that you see pushing a shopping cart looking for cans and bottles.

Joe got a second chance and he made a promise to God and to himself that if he could get sober he promised not to squander it and pay it forward.

After that, in less than 12 years he went from a guy pushing a shopping cart to being on the front of Maclean’s magazine as a celebrated Canadian entrepreneur.

There’s more to each and every one of us can see it and sometimes it’s hidden by things like addiction.

We’re not defined by our circumstances in life. We are defined by our reactions to the circumstances. If you understand that, then you’re only next step is to realize that you were so much more than the adversity you’re facing today.

At the core of all addictions is something that happened before that happened. Joe has done some work with former NHL hockey player Sheldon Kennedy and one of the things he commonly says is no one asked him what happened. Often when we see someone using drugs we are repulsed and we don’t ask that compassionate question: “what happened?” We have to get past the stigma and deal with the trauma.

The greatest asset Joe has is he used to push a shopping cart on the Downtown Eastside because now he gets the opportunity to meet with dignitaries and decision-makers, and philanthropists who can make change happen.

There’s a common language to people who walked the same journey.

A shopping cart is a symbol of chronic homelessness.

It took them six years to get fully funded and start the walk across Canada.

All of the money that was collected on the walk went to support youth homelessness.

As the walk progressed so did the awareness about what they were doing and they began to visit with major stakeholders and politicians including an invitation to meet with the Prime Minister of Canada.

When it was all done they raised over $600,000 and had many conversations with millions of Canadians.

During the campaign, he realized that it wasn’t his promise that made the difference. He realized his promise was the igniter of millions of other people‘s promises to do something.

In partnership with the Ontario Police Joe is going to visit over 300 schools and impact over 300,000 young people.

We all have particular talents. We all have something we can do.

We make the world a better place one inspired action at a time

Inspiring Actions

Big or small, join Joe and make a promise to do something about homelessness.

Get in touch with Joe and Marie







This episode is sponsored by certified world class speaking Coach Sharookh Daroowala.
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About the Get Inspired Talks Podcast

The Get Inspired Talks Podcast is a series of interviews with thought-leaders and change makers who want to inform, inspire and activate humanity with their important message. The series will give you hope, uplift your mood, rejuvenate your spirits and activate you to address tough local and global challenges. At Get Inspired Talks we believe that it’s not information or inspiration that matters … it’s action. The Get Inspired Talks Podcast pairs information with inspiration to make action happen. Accordingly, the theme for every The Get Inspired Talks Podcast is “Inspiring Brave Actions”.