Last night, 32 local Mothers slept outside in solidarity with the hundreds of young people who call Vancouver’s streets home, to raise funds for Covenant House Vancouver’s Street Outreach Program. A fundraising event, the Mothers raised over $121,000 for our young people.
The evening began with the participants getting to know each other and included a panel discussion with three youth (two current Covenant House youth and an alumni) who shared their stories about how they arrived at Covenant House’s door. Participants then toured Covenant House’s female Crisis Program before gearing up and heading outside for the night. Unlike previous Sleep Out events which are held in November, the weather was considerably warmer and dryer. However, the hard ground was still unforgiving and made sleeping difficult for the 32 Moms.
After waking up this morning (many didn’t get much sleep), the participants took part in a group reflection exercise, and were asked to use one word to describe their experience. The words gratitude, vulnerable, blessed and family were the most spoken. One participant, Katie Harmer, noted that “I felt safe because the staff were here looking after us but the kids don’t have that”.
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 loneliness and vulnerability that comes from “sleeping” out in the open.
We want to thank all of our amazing Sleepers and their supporters!