Building Hope | PCL

Building Hope

​On a night that saw business and community leaders in 18 cities across North America give up the comforts of home to sleep on the streets in solidarity with homeless youth, PCL Constructors Canada Inc. vice president and district manager Bruce Sonnenberg slept on the streets of Toronto with nothing more than a sleeping bag and a piece of cardboard.
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.​

COVENANT HOUSE TORONTO EXECUTIVE SLEEP OUT

His third 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.

The 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:

WITH GRATITUDE

To everyone who supported my Sleep Out with Covenant House Toronto:

Thank you 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.  

My evening 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 hopea 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.

We heard 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.  

The Sleep 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.
Bruce Sonnenberg

COVENANT HOUSE

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.

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