Last night, 58 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, Philip Ireland, GM & COO at Vancouver Club, raised $40,300! The Sleep Out is first and foremost a peer-to-peer fundraising event but it is also an opportunity for people to get a glimpse into what it is like for homeless youth – alone with no where to sleep and no place to call home.
Several corporate teams also took part and the top three totals raised were:
- Nicola Wealth Management $35,400
- Kuehne + Nagel Vancouver $12,780
- Fusion Projects $10,480
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 Vancouver, and how their lives have changed since. One youth shared, “I was in foster care since I was 8 years old until I turned 19. After that, I bounced around on the streets and friends’ houses until I found Covenant House. It’s been a steady place for me and very helpful.” Another stated, “Covey is somewhere you are supported and safe. A secure place.”
The weather was very cold with temperatures around -1 degree all night. Most sleepers did not get much rest saying there were very cold, extremely uncomfortable and one sleeper even felt paralyzed in her sleeping bag. 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!