70 of Toronto’s top business and community
leaders collectively raised over $1 million for the
fifth annual event.
This marks the third year that Bruce Sonnenberg
has slept on the streets in support of Covenant
HOUSE TORONTO EXECUTIVE SLEEP OUT
year in a row participating in Covenant House Toronto’s Executive Sleep Out, Bruce
raised $37,275 for the fifth annual event,
making him one of the top five fundraisers amongst the 70 business and
community leaders who collectively raised over $1 million for homeless youth.
following message captures Bruce’s personal experience of sleeping on the street,
as well as his sincere gratitude to those generous family members, friends and
colleagues in the development, design and construction industry who supported his journey:
who supported my Sleep Out with Covenant House Toronto:
for your contributions to this amazing organization. I once again had an
experience of a lifetime, and learned more about how large and extensive the
homeless youth issue is here in Toronto. I also learned through the
testimonials from a number of formerly homeless youth of the great work Covenant
House does to build up the hope and confidence that are needed to reenter
society as stable, contributing citizens.
began by having supper at a table with a young man. The deep sadness in his
eyes pierced my heart. Occasionally, I saw a glimmer of hope—a hope that will
need to be nurtured and grown so that he can move on to have a productive life.
I then had a conversation with a youth worker who shared his story of being
homeless when he was 16. With care, education, and training provided by Covenant
House, he was enabled to reenter society and eventually returned to Covenant
House as a youth worker. He said this was his way to give back.
testimonials from a number of other individuals explaining how Covenant House
helped them; two of them are now managing small businesses. I also attended a
small workshop where we were tasked with creating a budget for an individual
planning to leave the services provided by Covenant House in order to map out a
new life off the street. Although most of us in the room manage businesses, we
soon realized we had difficulty relating to these challenges and the realities
of setting a budget that would enable someone to have the skills needed to survive
when reentering society. Covenant House does excellent work helping youth with
these important life skills so that they can find jobs and learn to survive on
the wages they make in the first months after making their fresh start.
Out was much warmer than last year but still gave us a taste of what people
living on the street experience every night. We each received a sleeping bag
and piece of cardboard on which to sleep. My night was generally uneventful,
with the exception of many sirens and being jolted out of my sleep by a rat
brushing against my body, inches from my face. I came home to a warm house, a
wonderful family, and a soft bed! Street
youth face only more cold days and cold nights, with no support. So I can
assure you that your donations will go a long way to providing hope and help to
these vulnerable kids.
May you all
be blessed for your generous contributions.
As the country’s largest
homeless youth agency, Covenant House offers the widest range of services under
one roof. More than a place to stay, it provides 24/7 crisis shelter and
longer-term residential programs on-site and in the community as well as
education, counselling, employment assistance, job training and aftercare. The
agency serves as many as 250 young people every day and has offered its support
to more than 90,000 in the past 34 years.