My name is Mika Rayter, and alongside my partner TJ, I worked with 1JustCity and Just a Warm Sleep for three months in the winter of 2019. Every night the space opened and I was there between the hours of 9-11pm on Saturdays. The doors of Augustine United Church would open to a group of 25 people who had been waiting for a warm space to feel safe and fall asleep. Having a warm place to lay my head every night is something I could easily take for granted. It was an incredibly eye-opening experience and I was happy to help give that gift to someone on those very cold nights.
As someone who has worked in the Winnipeg hot yoga community for over a decade, where I met Tessa from 1JustCity for the first time, I know first hand the importance of safety and a warm, accepting community. It felt important to be a part of the process of providing a safe space for men and women who don't have their own home in one of the coldest cities in North America.
One of Modo’s main pillars, and the one that speaks to me the most, is community. This falls in line with 1JustCity's pillars of "loving the underloved" and "building an inclusive community".
This volunteer position gave me a glimpse into a different type of community, one that doesn't have that warm place to lay their head every night at their fingertips. Just a Warm Sleep not only gives a safe space to sleep, they also offer gloves and mittens, scarves, socks, and other necessities for a warm winter.
This experience married the pillars of Modo and 1JustCity as community partners to create safe places for people to come to, no matter what they are going through.
What the employees and volunteers of 1JustCity do for Winnipeg and our underloved is incredible, and just what the city needs in terms of support.
Written by Mika Rayter of Modo Yoga