About 200 members of the Boys Club Network of British Columbia took off their shoes June 1 to experience firsthand the journey that refugees from Syria must make as they flee their war-torn country. The high-school-aged boys organized the fundraising walkathon in West Vancouver to mirror the 10 kilometres that lie between the Turkish mainland and the Greek island of Lesbos, which many Syrian refugees hope will be their gateway farther into Europe.
The boys did the walk, as many refugee families do, barefoot. It was inspired by a talk given by Radcliffe Foundation founder Frank Giustra to students at Sentinel Secondary School in West Vancouver. Giustra is a founding patron of the Boys Club Network, which provides mentorship to at-risk youth. “The boys discussed his talk,” said Scott Bruce, a counsellor at the school. “It was a story that resonated with them and they wanted to do something to make a difference.”