Gift of giving law to the homeless community

Richmond-based, youth-run non-profit connects with Law 12 students for Annual Blanket Drive

A newly-registered, Richmond-based non-profit will soon be connecting local law students directly to the homeless community in the Downtown Eastside.

Ignite The Warmth (IWT), mainly founded by Steveston-London alumni, has been working with 30 Law 12 students from McNair secondary since September.

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The students were split into five groups to work alongside the youth-led ITW members on the management of the non-profit’s Annual Blanket Drive, which ultimately distributes comfort packages to Vancouver’s homeless community. 

As part of their Law 12 class, the students are being asked to include information on legal resources in a pamphlet, which will be handed out by the students as part the comfort packages on Dec. 17.

“Each group is responsible for creating a page in the pamphlet about legal resources (legal rights, pro-bono services, etc.),” said one of ITW’s co-founders Precilia Kong, who’s in her fourth year studying neuro science and health at UBC.

“They will get first-hand experience seeing how their work influences people on the street. They are getting graded for their work, as well.”

Kong and seven other Richmond high school alumni set up ITW four years ago with a mission to combat ignorance of the homeless on three fronts: facilitate, educate and communicate.

ITW’s core desire was, and still is, helping other groups help the homeless; in particular to guide them on how to set up charitable events, such as blanket drives.

In a similar vein, a group of local youth formed a group called Reach Richmond two years ago.

And it was through Reach Richmond’s and ITW’s mutual connection to Richmond RCMP that the McNair Law 12 students got involved in offering legal help to the homeless.

“We’re now the non-profit being connected (by Reach Richmond) with students; we’re getting grants, building a board of directors,” said Kong.

As well as working with the McNair students, ITW has working relationships with seven other Richmond high schools, which are raising funds and equipment for the Annual Blanket Drive.

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