Zero Ceiling, Immeasurable Impact
Challenge: Youth Homelessness
Imagine having no cozy bed to return to after a long, hard day. Most of us have never experienced this stress. Homelessness is an issue many youth face, and it is a problem that is frustratingly difficult to solve. Many homeless youth have fled dangerous situations or aged out of foster care lacking social support most of us take for granted. For homeless youth, it’s a struggle to survive.
Solution: Introduction to mountain lifestyle & culture combined with community & employment support through the Zero Ceiling Society
In the early 2000’s, Chris Winter decided to harnesses the power of Whistler’s active mountain lifestyle to help youth struggling with homelessness. With the combined efforts of Whistler’s Adventure Group and Whistler Blackcomb, Zero Ceiling has paired youth with jobs and life-changing mountain activities and experiences such as skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, zip-lining and white-water rafting. The idea was to help homeless youth escape day-to-day challenges, while giving them employment skills and inspiring positive youth development. Per Winter, “Mountain experiences have the capacity to expand horizons and fuel empowered lives.”
The programs offered by Zero Ceiling range from single day adventure sessions offering inspiration on the mountain, to a full 12 month Work 2 Live program, providing youth with stable housing and full time employment through Whistler Blackcomb.
“With a community of support behind them, they can move mountains. This vision promotes a brighter future as young lives transition to independence.”
Impact: Perspective from a Zero Ceiling Graduate
Kathryn B is a graduate of the 2012-2013 Work 2 Live Program. Since December 2015, she is now a full-time Registered Massage Therapist, living independently and working as an RMT in Vancouver.
“To me, Zero Ceiling has been more than just a Work 2 Live program. Zero Ceiling has been a second chance at life. Before ZC I was stuck in a rut, I was stuck in a downward spiral and I wasn’t going anywhere. I was living in an unsafe environment, and I felt like I had no options and there was no way out.
ZC has given me a new beginning. It gave me a chance to reinvent myself and get away from the negative environment I was stuck in. Through ZC I learned to become independent, I learned to let go of the past and create healthy habits, develop life skills and become responsible for my choices and actions. ZC connected me with invaluable resources and amazing people who helped support and guide me along the way.
More than anything ZC has shown me a way out.
It has given me my power back and has offered me the tools and skills I need to be a successful and independent individual.
I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this awesome program that has changed my life. I am forever grateful. Thank you!” – Kathryn B.
Fundraising: How You Can Help
Fundraising events that have contributed to Zero Ceiling’s programming are not only successful from a financial perspective, but the event formats tend to encourage community involvement paired with a little bit of fun, in alignment with Zero Ceiling’s modus operandi.
Take this year’s 20th anniversary White Water Rodeo on Green Lake, for example. Not only an epic success, it was a lot of fun, AND local participants got to spend several hours outdoors in this wonderland we call home, reminding us all why we are here in the first place. Teams gathered for sumo wrestling on stacked river rafts and a boat race down the Green River. (It is worth mentioning that RE/MAX Sea to Sky Real Estate Contender, Melissa Schneiderova won the River Raft Wrestling). Be sure to sign up for 2018’s event. Here’s the link to Zero Ceiling’s Website so you can keep up to date with their news and events.