Red River College Dean Graham Thomson will be among the 50-plus business leaders, celebs and community-minded decision makers taking part in this week’s CEO Sleepout, in support of Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s Change for the Better campaign.
Thomson, Dean of the School of Business & Applied Arts at RRC, will spend this Thursday night camped out at the corner of Portage and Main, as a means of raising funds for homeless employment programs and raising awareness of issues related to homelessness and poverty in Winnipeg.
“Obviously this is just a gesture — since it’s entirely unlike what people face out in the streets every night,” says Thomson. “But any little thing we can do to help draw awareness to the issue is good.”
Last year’s inaugural CEO Sleepout raised over $100,000 for the Change for the Better initiative, which helps to support homeless people as they transition from the streets to positions of paid employment.
Proceeds from this year’s event will also support Siloam Mission’s Mission Off the Streets (MOST) team, which employs individuals in keeping the downtown clean while building the life skills, work experience and confidence to help them in finding a full-time job.
Though this Thursday will mark his first time sleeping in the street, Thomson says he’s already somewhat familiar with the challenges faced by Winnipeg’s homeless, through his work as a board member with the Central Neighbourhoods Development Organization, a group working to improve conditions in the areas surrounding RRC’s downtown campus.
“I think people need to do whatever they can to pitch in and help out,” he says.