$239,159 Raised at Sleep Out: Young Professionals!

Last night, 67 young professionals and emerging leaders slept outside in solidarity with the hundreds of young people who call Vancouver’s streets home, to raise funds for youth who struggle with mental illness and addictions.  The top fundraiser, Melissa De Genova, Vancouver City Councillor, raised over $17,000.  The Sleep Out is a peer-to-peer fundraising event that provides an opportunity for a glimpse at what it is like for homeless youth – alone with nowhere safe to sleep and no place to call home.  When the 67 sleeping bags were placed down, each one represented one year of mental health and addictions support for one youth, an image that stuck with participants when they tried to sleep.

Sleepers happy to support homeless youth

Notable participants included:

  • Brittney Martin, a former Covenant House resident
  • Vancouver City Councillor, Melissa De Genova
  • Sarah Bess Miller, Competitor, Big Brother Canada 2
  • Michael Whitehead, Manager, Community Support Services, Covenant House Vancouver

Several corporate teams also took part and the top two totals raised were:

Nicola Wealth Management:       $33,658
Vancouver Whitecaps FC:             $17,902

The evening began with the participants touring our female Crisis Program and Drop-In Centre.  A panel consisting of Covenant House youth and staff shared their knowledge and experience about youth homelessness, mental illness and addictions. The young people also shared their personal stories and explained how they found their way to Covenant House, and how their lives have changed since.  All three youth were once homeless and came to Covenant House Vancouver, having no idea of how they might be helped.  Each one of them is now stable, involved in community and work projects and looking forward to their futures.

youth quote

Sleeping outside proved to be a challenge as from 1:00 am onwards, it poured rain and was very windy.  Drenched, cold and exhausted, the participants reflected on their experience and read letters of thanks from Covenant House youth. The majority of the participants were off to work where, undoubtedly, they will find it hard to focus (and stay awake!)

We extend our heartfelt thanks to all of our sleepers and their supporters!  We hope to see you all back next year!

The whole group right before bedtime