Feb. 15, 2018 7:57 am

Why Covenant House PA is inviting young professionals to sleep outside for a night

Sleep Out is an annual fundraiser and advocacy event for the nonprofit serving Philly youth experiencing homelessness.

Covenant House PA's Sleep Out.

(Courtesy photo)

This is a guest post by Covenant House Associate Board co-chairs Alissa Weiss and Nathan Thomas.
On a chilly night in March, 200 young professionals from the Philadelphia region will spend the night sleeping outside, on the ground, in sleeping bags and cardboard boxes. Why?

We will roll out our sleeping bags because one out of 10 youth between the ages of 18 and 25 and one out of 30 youth ages 13 to 17 experience homelessness every year. Because the odds of being homeless increase exponentially for kids who are Latino, African American and LGBTQ. Because one in five homeless youth have been victims of human trafficking.

These young people spend their days figuring out a safe place to sleep each night, while most of us spent our time making friends, joining clubs, figuring out what to do after high school and making plans for college and a career. This is simply unimaginable.

But thankfully, we can do something to help Philadelphia’s most vulnerable youth. We can support Covenant House Pennsylvania — the largest provider of services to Philadelphia’s homeless, runaway and trafficked youth — by sleeping out on March 23.

Sleep Out is an international movement of individuals who accept the challenge to sleep outside for one night so that homeless kids don’t have to. It’s about building a community that believes that everyone deserves a home — not to mention love, support, safety and security — and seeks to help young people who are robbed of those rights.

Covenant House tackles these problems head on every single day, by providing shelter and comprehensive services to the 700 young people who walk into the crisis center in Germantown every year. But most of all, they provide a sense of love, support and hope to those youth who need it the most. And in the process, they change the trajectory of a human’s life.

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Together, we can make sure that Covenant House can provide those life-changing services; as an organization that is 93 percent privately funded, the actions of individual citizens are enormously important. This is what makes the Sleep Out so critical, since every Sleeper commits to raising funds (and awareness) for the youth of Covenant House.

Here in Philadelphia, we’ll spend the night of March 23 at Friends Center in Center City, meeting Covenant House staff and the incredible, resilient, inspiring youth they serve. At the end of the night (after a lot of snacks) we’ll head outside in our sleeping bags and our cardboard boxes to express our support for the brave young people who face this challenge.

(Courtesy photo)

This year is our fourth annual Young Professional’s Sleep Out, and we are looking to break our record by recruiting 200 Sleepers and raising $200,000. We want Philadelphia to be known across this movement as a model city that rallies behind its most vulnerable and surrounds them with love and support.

If we get this right we can help more people like Randall, who was in foster care until he was adopted but whose adoptive mother threw him out when he turned 18 and the subsidy checks stopped coming. He wound up sleeping next to the Ben Franklin Parkway until he found Covenant House. He was able to live there for two years while the team helped him find a job, save money and learn the skills he needed to be independent.

Today he has a full-time job, a beautiful apartment of his own, and he just got accepted to college! Randall had the opportunity to celebrate his success in a speech he gave at an event on the Parkway, just a few hundred yards from where he used to sleep.

We hope you’ll join our community and help us show the world that Philadelphia won’t allow its future to live on the streets.

You can read more information about Sleep Out and sign up with a team (or join an existing team) below. Covenant House will support you through the fundraising process and guarantees a gratifying, amazing evening.

Register for Sleep Out

Email associateboard@covenanthousepa.org with questions, and learn more the Covenant House Associate Board here.


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