Business Leaders Band Together to Open Doors for Homeless Youth | PCL

Business Leaders Band Together to Open Doors for Homeless Youth

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Toronto – Buildings & Civil Construction

Toronto, ON (November 22, 2016) – 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.

His third year in a row participating in Covenant House Toronto’s Executive Sleep Out, Sonnenberg raised over $37,275.00 for the 5th 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 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:

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 former homeless youth, of the great work Covenant House does to build up the hope and confidence that is needed to re-enter 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 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 re-enter 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 re-entering 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

Donations are still being accepted. For more information about Covenant House Toronto’s Sleep Out: Executive Edition and its participants, or to make a donation, please visit executivesleepout.ca

ABOUT BRUCE SONNENBERG

Bruce Sonnenberg is vice president and district manager of PCL Constructors Canada Inc. (Toronto), responsible for district operations in the Greater Toronto Area and southwestern Ontario. With almost three decades of PCL experience, Bruce has spent more than 20 years with PCL in Toronto. He has been part of PCL’s leadership teams in Calgary and Toronto, most recently as District Manager in Toronto. He holds a BSc degree in civil engineering from the University of Alberta and is a registered professional engineer.

ABOUT COVENANT HOUSE TORONTO

Covenant House, the country’s largest homeless youth agency, 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. For more information, visit covenanthousetoronto.ca.

ABOUT PCL CONSTRUCTORS CANADA INC. (TORONTO)

PCL is a group of independent construction companies that carries out work across Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, and in Australia. These diverse operations in infrastructure, heavy industrial, and buildings markets are supported by a strategic presence in 31 major centres. Backed by PCL’s 100 year legacy, and with more than four decades of experience in Southwestern Ontario’s dynamic construction market, the Toronto office is PCL’s largest district with more than 550 of the construction industry’s most-talented professionals and an annual construction volume of more than $1.0B. For more information, visit PCL.com/Toronto.

FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES, OR HIGH-RESOLUTION PHOTOS PLEASE CONTACT:

Liisa Morley
Communications Specialist
PCL Constructors Canada Inc. (Toronto)                                                          
647-406-4851
lmorley@pcl.com