There is one more homeless person wandering the streets of London, albeit temporarily.
Heykel Kader, owner of I Am Who I Am Personal Training Studios on Wortley Road, has taken to the streets for a week to raise awareness of the plight of the homeless in the Forest City.
He wants to “put a cap on homelessness.”
Kader is also on a mission to sell 700 Raising the Roof toques to raise money for the Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) group, which helps children get off the street.
Since 1998, the Toque Campaign has generated over $3.5 million for more than 140 frontline homelessness agencies from coast to coast (www.raisingtheroof.ca). There are as many as 300,000 homeless people in Canada.
Toque Tuesday 2013 is Feb. 5. Kader will be selling toques until that date.
If there’s one person in the city prepared to give up four walls and a ceiling, it’s Kader. A runaway at 15, he spent four years in varying degrees of transience.
“I’m not stressed at all,” he said at his studio at 136 Wortley Rd., a storm that generated a snow squall warning for Middlesex county Friday (Dec. 21) raging on the other side of his second-storey window.
“It’s not the money so much as the awareness,” he said of the campaign. “There are issues related to homelessness in our backyard. I want to show an example for people that there is a way to get out of their situation if they choose because of the resources we have available here in Canada.”
That said, the week he plans to spend on the street over Christmas is a personal journey.
“Whenever you move forward in your life, you want to get rid of any negatives you may have experienced in your past,” the motivator said. “I think being on London’s streets will help me face my fears and deal with any past issues I may not have dealt with in myself.”
You can follow Kader's progress on Twitter at @heykelkader.