The Push for Change


In 2011 Dr Sean Richardson and Joe Roberts formed The Push for Change. The idea was to create an engagement strategy that would help End Youth Homelessness.

Shopping carts represent homelessness so we thought “why not push that symbol ( a shopping cart!) across Canada?”

The Push for Change was born! A national awareness and youth empowerment project to help end youth homelessness.

On May 1, 2016, Joe Roberts will push a shopping cart 9,000 km across Canada.  The trek will start in St. John’s NL and end 517 days later in Vancouver BC, on September 30, 2017.

Along the way The Push for Change team will engage at over 400 school and community events. The focus is to inspire and engage Canadians to join The Push for Change in a series of “calls to action.” These educational interactions will help us raise awareness and funds to support a school-based homelessness preventative initiative; The Upstream Project.

The journey will cover the most densely populated regions of Canada, with events, public experiences and appearances throughout the nation.


Not being satisfied with just one big long term goal, we devised a plan for Joe to do a training walk from Calgary to Vancouver in the summer of 2012. This 1071KM walk was completed on August 25th 2012 in the downtown east side of Vancouver.

The next training challenge was winter, so we "picked a fight" with Alberta! On Jan 2, 2013 through to Jan 17, 2013 Joe pushed his cart from Edmonton AB to Red Deer AB, a distance of 175 KM in minus 20 degree bone chilling wind!

Needleless to say we are committed to Ending Youth Homelessness in Canada!

Donations can be made online at

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The Push for Change team

JOE ROBERTS: Elite Cart Trekker, Change Maestro

Joe has pushed through some of the biggest roadblocks imaginable to positively alter the course of his life. In 1989, he was living under a bridge, a homeless addict on skid row. With the help and hope of caring people around him, Joe found a way to get himself off the streets and become what he is today, an author, advocate, and the Executive Director of The Push for Change.

Joe knows firsthand what it means to have completely given up on yourself, and he has suffered human existence at its depths, but he also knows what it means to transform one's life from hopelessness to success. Along his journey, Joe has seen that there are 2 key things for creating change: the power of possibility thinking and the power of people coming together. When these two things are followed by relentless action to make a difference, anything becomes possible.

Knowing that other people saw something in him that he didn't see in himself, and helped him to change his life, Joe has been driven to help other Canadians see something in those around them, particularly the difficult ones, that they can't see in right now, so that we can help change the lives of these people in need. Joe is a guy committed to making a difference.

MARIE MCDONALD: Campaign Manager

As the Campaign Manager, Marie provides all administrative support to The Push for Change.

With a 25 year career in accounting, her analytical, technical, and organizational skills have proven invaluable in developing The Push for Change campaign with Joe Roberts. Her leadership abilities and relationship management lend themselves well to her role as Campaign Manager.

During the 18 month trek her main duties include managing the team, the budget, volunteers and in general being the go-to-person for all Trek-related operations. She is Joe's champion and support person.

Deep down Marie has always been a nurturer, someone you can count on and someone who is highly dependable. She is the "glue" that holds teams and projects together. Her role in the business world as well as her role as a friend, a daughter, a sister and a mother reflect this deeply. When asked if she would take on that role with PFC there was no moment of pause. Her commitment was swift and has remained constant. We are fortunate to have her at the helm.

Also worthy to note; Marie is Joe's fiancé and their history spans back 30 years as high school sweethearts in the 1980's. Some people say working together is something couples shouldn't do. We think that's nonsense as there is no better team to tackle Canada!

ROBERT COOK: Transportation Manager

Robert Cook has been an avid supporter of The Push for Change from day 1.

When Joe and Sean were in the planning stages back in 2011 thinking about doing the "qualifier" walk from Calgary to Vancouver, one of the biggest challenges was finding a volunteer RV driver with no budget.

We needed someone for the entire summer that was willing to manage all of the driving logistics, maintenance and safety responsibilities. Rob volunteered his entire summer.

Rob's skills as a driver, his dedication to the team and his connection to the cause made him the perfect champion for the job. Looking ahead to the National Trek there was no question we wanted "Bobby" as our wheel man.

Rob's responsibilities as the Transportation Manager will include:

  • - Traffic Safety
  • - Joe's Safety
  • - Equipment Manager
  • - All driving responsibilities
  • - Vehicle maintenance
  • - Joe's Nutrition and Hydration

Also worthy to note; when planning the summer logistics in 2011/2012 we had no idea where we could find such a perfect fit for a driver. One day on FaceBook, Joe received an encouraging "Ataboy" from a person he didn't recognize. When he responded to Rob Cook, he soon learned Rob was "Cooter", an old friend from East Vancouver who Joe survived the streets with!

We marvel at how the universe works to bring together a team dedicated to making the world a better place, there's no mistake that Marie and Joe's reunion after 28 years, and Bobby and Joe's reunion after 25 years was for a reason and mission greater than we ever thought possible.

DR SEAN RICHARDSON: Training Coach & Project Team-mate, Change Maestro

Sean has always felt lucky to have a family that believed in him, and he has always been taught to see the possibility in other people, all people, no matter what their background, race, religion, nationality.

As a PhD in sport psychology, Sean has witnessed that often biggest barriers to performance in elite athletes are the very human roadblocks that stop all of us – anxiety about judgment and criticism, fear of failure, depressive emotions about self and circumstances, stories of worthlessness borne out of troubled and traumatic past experiences.

For 11 years now, Sean has seen that achieving goals is both about applying the mindsets and behaviors of excellence and about the resolution of personal and situational roadblocks. He has developed an intuitive understanding of what starts and stops people in succeeding, a skill that has some people refer to him as a "people whisperer." Sean brings the experience of building high performance mindsets combined with the competency necessary for dealing with the inevitable psychological roadblocks that stand in our way. Sean's contribution to The Push for Change is as a team-mate to Joe, training partner, friend, professional advisor, and strategic partner on everything that will make this project a success.