Langley resident Joseph Roberts earned one of eighteen Medal of Good Citizenship awards. (Skid Row CEO/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Provincial award proves that local motivational speaker is not your average Joe

Langley resident Joe Roberts earns Medal of Good Citizenship, one of 18 recipients in B.C.

Joseph “Joe” Roberts, a Willoughby resident, is one of 18 people from throughout B.C. who will receive the province’s Medal of Good Citizenship.

Launched in 2015, the Medal of Good Citizenship recognizes individuals who, through exceptional long-term service, have made outstanding contributions to their communities without expectation of remuneration or reward.

Roberts overcame a homeless youth on the streets of East Vancouver and drug addiction in the 1980s to make the Dean’s List as an Honour Roll graduate at Loyalist College in Belleville – earning two diplomas in business.

After leaving the business world in the early 2000s, he began his career as a motivational speaker under the name Skid Row CEO.

“In 1989, I made a promise to pay it forward if I got off the streets,” Roberts said. “Our most important work is done in schools so we can inspire, educate, and empower students so they can see what they can do to create change.”

In 2016/2017, he made national headlines by pushing a shopping cart across Canada over a 17 month period for a campaign called The Push for Change.

Robert’s aim was to raise funds and awareness to prevent youth homelessness; a mission that still continues to this day.

“We are now leveraging an inspirational story to empower the local community,” Roberts explained. “The walking is over but the reason why we did it continues – it can be used as a backstory to fight youth homelessness.”

READ MORE: Have shopping cart, will travel

The walk raised $570,000 which was donated to charitable partners and organizations such as Raising the Roof.

In September of 2017, weeks after the Push for Change ended, Roberts and his wife began looking for a new home.

“We were driving through Langley and my wife Marie said ‘I love this place – this is where I want to live’,” he said.

Roberts has received many award including The Governor General of Canada’s Meritorious Service Medal in 2018, the Senate 150 Anniversary Medal in 2017, and a nomination by Maclean’s Magazine as one of 10 Canadians that make a difference in 2003.

The motivational speaker has also published several books including Don’t Buy the Lie About Getting High, Fred the Cat, and his best-seller 7 Secrets to Profit from Adversity.

The Medal of Good Citizenship is meant to reflect the generosity, service, acts of selflessness and contributions of the recipient to community life.

Roberts stressed that people don’t have to do something extraordinary to make a difference.

“You don’t have to push a shopping cart across the country to create change. It’s as simple as finding what you are passionate about and making one small promise to do something,” Roberts explained.

“Each one of us has something we are passionate about… senior care… the environment… anti-bulling… we can change our community, our country, our world by following that passion.”

He added that his organization, The Push for Change, will launch The Promise Project next year in hopes of getting youth engaged in their passions to make a difference through $5,000 charitable grants.

Recipients were nominated by members of their communities.

Roberts will receive his medal in January at the Legislature in Victoria.

_________________________________

Is there more to this story?

Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tax hikes possible in Township as budget talks begin

Just “keeping the lights on” could cost 4.12 per cent in tax increases

How to beat Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year

Multiple factors can play a role in seasonal depression, says Fraser Health psychiatrist

Langleyites get their say about proposed community gardens at Rotary Centennial Park

38 plots and an additional eight garden spaces have been put forth for Langley City park

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants burned by Kamloops Blazers

Home ice loss sees Kamloops extend winning streak to eight

Update: Burned-up vehicle in Langley residential neighbourhood linked to Burnaby murder

Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) issues appeal for witnesses

VIDEO: Soldiers trade rifles for snow shovels to help dig out St. John’s

A state of emergency is set to extend into a fifth day

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

Convicted Fraser Valley con man facing 39 charges in Vancouver area

Donald Quinnell got four years prison in 2015, again facing fraud, theft, stolen credit card charges

Police seize nearly 50 kilos of drugs in Surrey

Police say this has taken perhaps millions of deadly doses of fentanyl and other drugs off the streets

Young child seriously injured in suspected drunk driving crash in Delta

“This needs to stop,” says Insp. Ciaran Feenan, head of the Delta Police Department’s patrol section

Elderly man in serious condition after being hit by bus in Burnaby

RCMP believe man, 82, was not at a crosswalk at the time

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

Most Read