In the bustling streets of Metro Vancouver, a harsh reality shadows the city’s glittering skyline: between 500 to 1,000 young people face each night without a safe place to sleep. These youth, each with their own story, dreams, and aspirations, find hope in the caring embrace of Covenant House Vancouver.
Sleep Out: Champions Edition isn’t just an event—it’s a movement fuelled by compassion and advocacy. It brings together a diverse community of professionals, organizations, influencers, and individuals who are willing to forgo the comfort of their beds for one night. Their sacrifice ensures that the young people at Covenant House have a secure place to rest, and offers a beacon of hope in the darkness of homelessness.
Meet Evan Roy: A Voice for Change
By participating in Sleep Out, we stand in solidarity with those facing homelessness and raise awareness about the growing number of youth who experience this plight. This year marks a significant milestone as passionate advocates from the community have come together to form the Sleep Out Cabinet. This collective aims to leverage their resources to inspire others to join the movement, to amplify its impact and reach.
Today, we have the privilege of introducing Evan Roy, who represents Team Odlum Brown. Evan shares his personal experiences, motivations, and insights into the transformative power of Sleep Out.
Q: How did you find out about Sleep Out?
Evan: I found out about Sleep Out from my colleague, Bill Weaver, who has since retired and passed the torch to me. I had heard about Sleep Out briefly, prior to getting involved, and always thought that it was a great idea, but none of my immediate contacts have ever participated. Bill applied a healthy amount of pressure on me to get involved and I’m so glad that I did.
(Bill Weaver, pictured far left in the red jacket and black hat – the same hat Evan will wear at SO:CH)
Q: Can you share a memory from a Sleep Out?
Evan: 2023 Sleep Out that had a torrential downpour and near-zero-degree temperatures. The moment that really stands out to me was during the morning reflection, after sleeping out. I was tired, sore, and had to go to work and thought to myself, “How could I possibly do this day in and day out?” Evan empathized with youth who experience this daily.
The idea of trying to find a job and a home while being homeless seemed like such a challenge and it gave me a huge amount of respect for the youth who are going through this and the work that Covenant House Vancouver does.
Q: Why did you join the Sleep Out Cabinet?
Evan: I participated in my first Sleep Out event in 2023 and was approached by Kim Wing, the Manager of Events and Sleep Out, to join the Cabinet. Being a rookie, I felt honoured to have been selected and saying no was not even a consideration.
Q: Why is the Sleep Out event important?
Evan: I truly believe that this event saves lives. It is a unique event, and everyone thinks that it’s such a great idea and cause when they hear about it. In my opinion, this event is the best marketing opportunity for Covenant House Vancouver, and I doubt that I would even be aware of them and all the great work that they do without this event.
Q: Why are organizations like Covenant House Vancouver important?
Evan: Many of us are lucky to have family and friends who will support us in our darkest times. I realize that not everyone is fortunate enough to have a support network, and this is where Covenant House Vancouver comes in.
The young woman who spoke during the panel session, last year, comes to mind. If I recall correctly, she was basically cut off from her entire family due to her sexual orientation. After coming to Canada with basically nothing, she found Covenant House Vancouver, and they provided her with everything she needed to become a successful young adult.
Covenant House reaches youth during their most vulnerable times and provides them with the support that they would not receive otherwise. In short, Covenant House is there when no one else is.
Q: Why should other business leaders get involved?
Evan: Sleep Out supports the community in which we live and helps create well-rounded, young adults with the skills they need to be productive members in our community. It is a great way to give back and good advertising for your business (people like to work with people who do good). At the end of the day, it just feels really good to support such an amazing organization that literally saves lives.
Q: Anything else to share with the readers?
Evan: I knew nothing about Covenant House Vancouver roughly one year ago and they are now my go-to charity that I love to support. If you are unsure, or on the fence about participating, just do it. Even if you only do it once, you’re making a difference. The team at Covenant House Vancouver is amazing.
Evan’s journey with Sleep Out: Champions Edition exemplifies the power of personal commitment and community engagement. As he encourages others to join this meaningful cause, his story inspires us to make a difference in the lives of homeless and vulnerable youth. If Evan’s experience resonates with you, consider participating in Sleep Out and becoming part of the positive change in our community. To donate directly to Evan’s team, visit their Team Odlum Brown page here.