It’s that time of year when the temperature drops, the night sky clouds over, frost forms, and I sleep outside on the asphalt in one of Downtown Vancouver’s back alleys. It’s a miserable night, but I only do it once. There are others who have to do it every single night, and that’s the life they have come to know. I’m preparing to participate once again in the Covenant House Sleep Out, an event that takes place at Covenant House locations across the world, supporting local homeless youth so that they don’t have to spend another night outside.
Covenant House Vancouver provides support on various levels: Crisis Shelter, Drop in Centre, Street Outreach, and Rights of Passage.
“Many of the kids have lived with violence or the threat of violence for much of their young lives. Feeling safe is a right we all have but one these kids have not enjoyed.”
Before we head outside on the night of the Sleep Out (which will be November 19th, 2015) we usually split off into groups and speak with youth clients and volunteers. It is always encouraging to meet kids who went from being homeless, to the crisis shelter all the way through to Rights of Passage, Covenant House’s program that prepares them for the bigger world.
Those in Rights of Passage actually pay (an affordable) rent and get full access to programs provided that they have a job or they are in school. They end up learning basics like grocery shopping and budgeting, and once they are through the program (6 months to 2 years) they are supported when they eventually move out, even welcomed to return for the weekly communal dinners. The care just keeps going to ensure the youth become self-sufficient, gainfully employed, successful individuals.
In 2013, my first Sleep Out year, over 600 participants around North America slept out for their local Covenant House. They raised over $3 million. Vancouver had 5% of the participants but raised 10% of the funds.
My Covenant House Sleep Out Campaign
No child should be homeless.
This will be my third Covenant House Sleep Out and I only have a few weeks left to fundraise. I am asking you, as a loyal blog reader or as a first-time browser, to please consider supporting my campaign. Whatever amount you can spare can truly make a difference.
You can make your donation online today, tomorrow, and leading up to November 19th. Thank you very much for your consideration!
Follow Covenant House on Twitter and Facebook for more information.