Canadian Western Bank is the proud presenting sponsor of the 15th Annual Homeless For A Night–in fact, they have been the presenting sponsor of H4AN for nine years! CWB has been a huge part of this amazing event that continues to bring the community together to support youth experiencing homelessness in Edmonton.
For this year’s milestone event, we sat down with Lacey Jansen, Community Investment Coordinator at CWB, to share the #H4AN love!
What inspired Canadian Western Bank to participate in Homeless for a Night?
CWB is committed to connecting with and supporting youth in the communities where we operate. We want young people to succeed and Homeless For A Night allows us to not only support YESS’ efforts with local at-risk youth, but also to help members of our community gain perspective on the difficult realities faced by these teens on a daily basis.
How many years have you and CWB been involved in Homeless for a Night?
CWB is proud of our long-standing relationship that first started about a decade ago. We’ve donated nearly $500,000 through various initiatives, sponsorships and employee matching grants, and have been the presenting sponsor for H4AN since 2007.
How do you inspire your employees to get on board with H4AN and to raise pledges?
Our employees have told us that they greatly value the work that YESS does in our community, and so we have people that come out and participate year after year. We also have a culture based on values that include integrity, respect and caring – these are all qualities that our people have and so giving back in the community is something that they want to do. I think knowing how YESS is so important for a young person going through a difficult time or faced with situations out of their control, is enough of an inspiration for employees to get involved. But it also helps that H4AN is a really unique experience. Not many people can say they’ve camped out in TELUS field, in the middle of the city. At the end of the day, our employees are just great at getting out to our community initiatives whether that’s fundraising for a cause or volunteering their time.
What is the most challenging part of H4AN?
I think the event really is about coming together to learn about what local youth are experiencing, but also to say to ourselves “I can help change this.” So the challenge then is in how we can make an impact once we leave the event.
What about your favourite part?
Hands down, the best part of the evening is the sharing of stories from the people who have been positively affected by YESS. Seeing these young people flourish and taking a different path for their lives is so heart-warming and inspiring. Just knowing we’re all there, forgoing some of our comforts, for the same mission – to help youth in our city.
How does CWB’s participation in H4AN strengthen your team and build camaraderie among your employees?
It definitely helps to bring us together. We have 8 branches and our corporate office in Edmonton and surrounding areas, and so it’s an opportunity to bring together people that we don’t often get to see and to do something meaningful together. I’d definitely encourage other businesses to sign-up a team – it’s the kind of experience that will leave people talking and sharing stories for years