Sleeping out and speaking up

At some point a few weeks ago, I decided that I really wanted to volunteer at this year’s Sleep Out Broadway Edition. This annual event, run by Covenant House, provides a space for Broadway stars and homeless kids to connect, share and celebrate hope. This year, over 70 sleepers and another 10 participants raised over $200,000 to benefit the thousands of kids that CH serves in four countries around the globe. The goal is part awareness, part fundraising, as we say “sleep out so homeless kids don’t have to”.

My own experience with CH has been nothing short of amazing. I was blessed to secure a summer internship working with a large, successful non-profit. I had amazing supervisors, full of knowledge and who led with passionate hearts. Hence, I wanted to come back (even from my 3 day vacation) early to help out at this event.

Each sleeper that I checked-in was so excited to be with us! They were eager to tell me there story of connection to this work, through a co-star or even some children of long time CH supporters. No matter their nerves or excitement, they were ready to experience this night.

Story by story, activity by activity, I witnessed walls falling down and solidarity spreading between our kids and the Broadway community. Be it a life journey that hit home, an unforgettable witness of abuse, or a desire to wipe away pain, active listening was apparent.

While I had to leave to catch an early train, my last task was to unwrap the cardboard ‘padding’ for our sleepers. One night is not meant to replicate what the kids experience, but can provide a lesson and a place to develop an even deeper sense of solidarity.

This morning, as I still processed this beautiful night, I saw this amazing clip. The Stars sang to our kids, who were settling into their rooms just a few floors above the street, where our sleepers camped out.

This is hope. This can be a movement. This: community, listening, love, and action, can make a difference.

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Disclaimer: Any opinions stated or inferred are my own, and do not necessarily represent the view or opinions of Covenant House. 

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