a peek inside the fishbowl

20 Jan, 2012

Baby, it’s cold outside

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Challenge me, challenge you|Ottawa|Yaktivism

The other night I trudged home late, from a meeting with Councillor Hobbs and all the community associations in Kitchissippi Ward. During the meeting we went around the table and talked about the concerns in each of our neighborhoods. I walked home in the freezing dark, feeling tired but inspired. These people REALLY love their city, so much so that they took a Wednesday night out of their busy lives to talk about how they can improve it for the people who live here. It was uplifting, and got me thinking: what small things can we do to make our city a better place to live?

Some of you might remember that I’ve been involved with the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa (YSB). They are a wonderful organization that does amazing work right here in the city. They’ve been around for over 50 years and they do their work quietly and seemingly without much fanfare, even though they are one of the largest and most comprehensive non-profit agencies serving youth in this community. Over 350 caring professionals work from 20 locations across the Ottawa to deliver a vast range of programs and services that support at-risk youth and their families in areas such as mental health, employment, youth justice, and housing.

It’s the latter that I want to talk to you about today, during a week that has had temperatures plummeting to bone-chilling lows.

Housing and homelessness are real issues even though many of us don’t see it in our day-to-day lives. There are young people who are struggling and need our help.

  • Each year, more than 1,200 youth rely on YSB to help them access and maintain the most basic needs — food, shelter and safety
  • In just one year, the Young Women’s and Young Men’s shelters provided 20,000 individual nights of shelter for youth in need of a safe place to stay
  • Over 80% of youth served by the Housing and Trusteeship Program avoid becoming homeless after working with YSB staff on life-skills, conflict resolution, budgeting and housing

I think these are pretty incredible numbers. And with big numbers come big costs, but there are small things that individuals can do to help.

The YSB has launched a fundraiser in partnership with an organization called Raising the Roof and they’re selling toques to help support the YSB’s housing program. 80 per cent of each toque sale goes right back to YSB to help young people right here in Ottawa.

  • One toque will provide one youth with 3 nutritious supper meals.
  • 10 toques will provide supper and groceries for 24 youth in a shelter for one day.
  • 1 box of toques will help 16 young people purchase a monthly bus pass to go to school, go to work, and get back on their feet.

Everyone who buys a toque is encouraged to wear it loud and proud to help raise awareness of this critical issue. What’s more, February 7 has been officially deemed Toque Tuesday. That’s the day you don’t want to forget your toque at home. If people ask where you got your fabulous chapeau (or even if they don’t), we hope you will spread the news and point them back to YSB and tell them about the wonderful work they’re doing.

Toque Tuesday is February 7

So here’s my big ask. I’m buying 30 toques, and I’m hoping I can sell one or two (but preferably all of them) to you, my readers, in the Ottawa area. The cost is a minimum of $10/toque. I will even deliver them to your home or place of business, and hopefully you’ll let me snap a photo of you wearing your toque. (Which you will hopefully post on your Facebook pages and share with your networks along with this link.)

Please help me spread the word and help me reach my 30!

If you’re a school, church, or business (big or small!) and would like to buy a larger quantity of toques for your staff, please send an email to ysbfoundation@ysb.on.ca. They’ll be happy to work something out with you. (If you DO contact them for a larger order, let me know because I’d love to meet you and shake your hand.)

Interested? Leave a comment below and let me know if you are able to buy one from me. If you are not in a position to make a purchase, please consider tweeting this out or sharing this message with your own networks.

Thank you in advance for your kindness and generosity, and for helping make Ottawa a great place to live!

Over to you!

p.s. I’ll be emailing each person who comments below to set up a time/date!

Update: January 23

I’m sold out, but it’s not too late to buy toques online through the Raising the Roof website: http://www.raisingtheroof.org/Our-Programs/Toque-Campaign/Purchase-a-Toque.aspx#order

Proceeds from any toques sold in Ottawa will be directed to YSB.

Alternatively, from Monday – Friday 8:30-4:30 pm you can drop by the YSB head office at 2675 Queensview Drive (near the Ikea) to purchase toques. Thanks again for your support! Yay!

24 Responses to "Baby, it’s cold outside"

1 | Judy Lincoln

January 20th, 2012 at 11:39 am


Andrea – I will be at the store on Saturday in Westboro if you can bring me a toque. I will buy one and even let you take my picture :)

2 | Sara

January 20th, 2012 at 11:43 am


This initiative is part of a larger campaign so even if you aren’t in Ottawa you can take part – I live in London, ON and our local Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) is the local partner. Check your city for yours!

3 | coffeewithjulie

January 20th, 2012 at 12:00 pm


Count me in for two toques, Andrea.

4 | Joy

January 20th, 2012 at 1:25 pm


I’m sure you will have no trouble selling them all! I will buy one from you:)

5 | Tanya

January 20th, 2012 at 1:30 pm


I will buy a touque, and do the photo. I live and work downtown, but I can meet you somewhere if that works better. Please email me. Thanks for the hard work at making our city more awesome. :)

6 | Lara

January 20th, 2012 at 1:54 pm


Bring me one tonight? :) maybe we can get a group shot!

7 | Jacquelyn

January 20th, 2012 at 2:46 pm


I’d love to buy a toque, I live in the neighbourhood so would be happy to arrange pickup/meet up. Thanks for letting the community know about this initiative.

8 | Valerie

January 20th, 2012 at 4:03 pm


Andrea, I will take 3. If we have a choice, could you include two orange ones and a black one like the far left (with the white star-like thing). Thanks!

9 | Candace

January 20th, 2012 at 4:35 pm


I’ll buy a toque, but can you give it to someone who needs it? Maybe take their picture? :) Let me know.

10 | Caroline Ives

January 21st, 2012 at 6:40 am


Andrea: Please count me in for a toque ( black spider one if possible) Would it be easy to send it in to work with the distinguished looking gentleman?

11 | Pam

January 21st, 2012 at 10:55 am


Toque me too please. I’ll take on and can meet you downtown unless you are dying to trek to Barrhaven. (I could also distribute to people in Barrhaven if it helps.) THanks!

12 | Jane

January 21st, 2012 at 1:57 pm


I’d be happy to buy a touque or two and help out YSB. Preference is one of each of the black ones. One is for my 13 soon to be 14 yr. old son for his birthday–he saw a commercial for them the other night on TV. THanks for making this easy for folks to contribute to.

13 | Patricia

January 21st, 2012 at 7:17 pm


If you’re heading out Barrhaven way, I’ll take a black one! Email me for contact info :) takka33 at hotmail

14 | EmmyB

January 21st, 2012 at 7:53 pm


Happy to take one!

15 | Heather

January 21st, 2012 at 9:34 pm


Hello Andrea, if you still have a couple of toques available, I would be happy to purchase a couple to support the YSB

16 | Linds

January 22nd, 2012 at 9:00 am


Two toques here please! I will have to think about the picture… :-)

17 | Beverley

January 22nd, 2012 at 10:27 am


Toque (preference is fro plain one) me too please. I am in the ‘hood and would be happy to meet up with you someplace central.

18 | Sara

January 22nd, 2012 at 4:34 pm


I love the one with the snowflake/star pattern and I’ll take two! Could meet you somewhere central or even come all the way…kids might like a visit to playvalue ;)

19 | Peter Hicks

January 22nd, 2012 at 11:55 pm


Can you bring me a black spider-y one to the schoolyard someday? Let me know which day and I’ll be sure to grease yer palm, BigTuna! ;)

20 | What can you make with latex and beans? >> a peek inside the fishbowl

January 23rd, 2012 at 8:16 am


[…] big thank you to every one who responded to my pitch the other day. You all rock. I will be getting in touch with each of you to arrange for a delivery […]

21 | Chantal

January 23rd, 2012 at 9:22 am


Have you reached your 30? If not I’ll take 2

22 | Shawna

January 23rd, 2012 at 9:27 am


I’ll take two – an orange one for me and one of your choice to donate to someone. I too live in the ‘haven, but I work downtown and I’ll be in the Parkdale area on Tuesday night…

I can get a pic to you if someone else drops it off.

23 | peter goold

January 23rd, 2012 at 10:03 am


…if you have any left I will take 3…

24 | andrea

January 23rd, 2012 at 11:07 am


Wow! That’s it folks. I’m sold out!
In fact, I think I will have to make a run for more toques. :)

I will be contacting each of you ASAP to set up a time and date. Thank you so much for your support! For those of you who’d still like to buy a toque, I am in the process of finding out how you can do so. Thanks again for your help and support!

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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