Volunteer Review: National Sleep Out, DC

D2_SO_General_Onepage_Print-1For the second year in a row, I had the honor and pleasure of raising money, awareness and volunteering for the Covenant House. The Covenant House is a home that houses the homeless youth of DC/MD/VA and those who have hitchhiked across the country. National Sleep Out gives individuals the opportunity to experience what it’s like to be homeless for one night. Let me just say that National Sleep Out is the most humbling experience that I have ever had. I really cannot wrap my mind around how these kids sleep out in the cold and expect to function in society. When people think of homeless youth, they automatically think they are on drugs, they didn’t want to listen to their parents, they are runaways, etc. However, some of these kids are homeless by no fault of their own. They are intelligent, articulate, talented, honor roll students who were just dealt a bad hand by life and had to find ways to survive.

charvThe Covenant House planned an evening of dinner, games, and interaction with some of the kids. The interactive part was my favorite because I got to hear first-hand what got them to this point. Listening to their stories, you immediately become thankful. I wasn’t just thankful for myself but thankful that the Most High used them as a vessel of knowledge and understanding. A lot of tears were shed and hugs were shared because at that moment, every care or worry you had going into the place doesn’t matter. It’s not about you anymore.

The Covenant House provides you with a sleeping bag which were donated and a piece of cardboard. You can bring a pillow if you want but the purpose is to be as uncomfortable as possible. Once you receive your sleeping bag and cardboard, you go outside and find a spot to sleep in the parking lot in front of the Covenant House. Now, earlier that day it rained and the temperature was expected to drop into the low 20’s during the night. So imagine if you will, sleeping on the cold, wet concrete with only a piece of cardboard as cushion and a flimsy sleeping bag….all night!!!!!!!! Oh did I mention that the Covenant House is located off a busy parkway, high traffic area for police chases, deer run rampant and public transportation that runs almost all night?

I enjoyed my experience with National Sleep Out and I will definitely do it again next year.
Contributed by Charvass Taylor

Blogger’s Note
Young Professional Edition: Sleep Out is an event sponsored by The Covenant House which raises funds and awareness for homeless teens. Last year, Young Professional Edition: Sleep Out exceeded its $30,000 goal by nearly $5,000. This year was the the third anniversary of the Young Professional Edition: Sleep Out and took place on March 21 in Washington, DC. Charvass Taylor is a local entrepreneur who resides in Washington, DC. Last year she raised $375 for Sleep Out and $155 for this year’s event.

As stated on the website, the goal of the event is to motivate hundreds of young professionals to raise public awareness and critical funds to support the life-changing work being done for homeless youth at Covenant House. If you would like to participate in this event in the future, the event will be hosted in the following cities: New York, NY, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, CA, Anchorage, AK, Fort Lauderdale, FL, and soon in Toronto, ON.

If you would like to learn more about National Sleep Out, check out the website at: http://www.covenanthouse.org/Learn-more-about-Sleep-Out.

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