Barrie woman takes challenge to “Push Your Limits.”

Debra Bobechko hopes to reach new heights this August while raising funds for Youth Haven, as she attempts to summit Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the highest point on the African continent.


Debra picked Youth Haven, Simcoe County’s only shelter for youth experiencing homelessness, as her charity of choice because she feels it is the perfect fit.

“I have battled heart disease for most of my adult life.   Yes, my health challenges have been an experience, but it is not who I am,” said Debra.  “Just like the young people that come through the shelter. There is so much more to each individual.   Their homelessness is an experience. It is where they are at now, not where they are going to finish. That’s how I see my heart disease.”

Mount Kilimanjaro is 19,340 feet or 5,895 metres.   Debra hopes to raise $19,340, one dollar per foot, through community donations and sponsorships.

Over approximately six days, starting August 24, Debra and her team will ascend, summit and descend Mount Kilimanjaro, encountering temperatures near minus 20 Celsius as they get closer to the top of the mountain.

“We are thrilled Debra picked Youth Haven as her charity of choice.   Our youth who are experiencing homelessness face mental and physical challenges every day that test their limits,” said Lucy Gowers, Youth Haven executive director.  “Just like Debra, they have a target they want to reach. A roof over their head. A job. Returning to school. It’s one step at a time.”

Debra’s trip is paid for.  Every dollar raised will go directly to Youth Haven for programs and services at the shelter and outreach programs across Simcoe County.

“Even if I don’t summit, every step is a success.   That’s what the youth need to hear. Every step they take to becoming a successful adult is a success.  Individual success is their definition, not somebody else’s.”

The community can follow Debra’s climb and make donations at

To set up an interview with Debra, contact Ian MacLennan, Youth Haven Board of Directors, 705-717-9347

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