Last night, 53 local executives, community leaders and celebrities slept outside in solidarity with the hundreds of young people who call Vancouver’s streets home, to raise funds for Covenant House Vancouver’s Crisis Program.
Bob Lenarduzzi (President, Vancouver Whitecaps), David Hawksworth (Hawksworth Restaurant), Actress Kristin Kreuk, ABC’s The Bachelorette’s Kaitlyn Bristowe, Breakfast Television’s Riaz Meghji and several local media personalities were joined by 40+ other sleepers who at last count had raised over $$672,461.
The lead fundraiser, Jordon Mellville, President, T&M Management Services explains why he chose to support the Sleep out - “In seeing the work that Covenant House provides to youth at risk in Vancouver I realize these could be anyone's children. I'm happy to be able to support them to make sure Covenant House is able to continue to provide these crucially important services”.
The evening began with the participants getting to know each other and mingling with Covenant House youth. Then, the sleepers participated in roundtable discussions with current and former youth who shared their personal experiences and provided tips for braving the elements.
Unlike previous years where sleepers were faced with a soggy wet Vancouver weather, last night’s temperature dipped to the freezing mark. Whitecaps President Bob Lenarduzzi slept out for the 4th time and said that despite the cold temperatures “For me and my son Ryan, it feels like it’s the least we can do to support the youth in need within our own community.”
After waking up this morning (many didn’t get much sleep), the participants took part in a group reflection exercise, describing what the experience meant to them. One participant said “at times I felt desperate and wondered when it would end”. The Sleepers acknowledged that sleeping outside for one night does not compare to what it is really like for youth who must do so night after night, some while holding down a job and going to school. The Sleepers did however, get a glimpse into experiencing the cold and wet, feeling exposed and vulnerable out in the open.
We want to thank all of our amazing Sleepers and their supporters!