6th annual Covenant
House Toronto Sleep Out: Executive Edition included prominent leaders in the
construction, real estate development, investment and commercial sectors, among
others. All spent the night outside with only a sleeping bag and piece of
cardboard to raise awareness and much-needed funds for the agency, while
getting a small glimpse of the hardships that kids can face on the street.
Rivers, Covenant House Toronto executive director, says that as many as 250
young people depend on the agency’s support every day. “We are most grateful to
the business community for such generous support of this life-changing
experience,” Rivers says. “Our goal is to help shine a light on the plight of
homeless youth and raise funds to help us give our kids the support they need
to build better futures.”
night marked Sonnenberg’s fourth time sleeping on street in support of Covenant
House Toronto. Raising $45,005.00, Sonnenberg
was the third top fundraiser among the group who collectively beat their
$1 million fundraising goal, which brings the total amount raised at all six events
to more than $6 million.
following captures Bruce’s experience, as well as his sincere gratitude to the
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:
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 discussions with
homeless youth, of the great work Covenant House does to give them the hope and
confidence they need to re-enter society as stable, contributing citizens.
began by having supper at a table with a homeless youth. A young man shared
parts of his life story in Toronto that were difficult for me to comprehend. He
explained how he started his life on the streets at a very young age, as he had
no family support. A number of his family members are in the prison system. A
shocking number of his best friends have been murdered and he has had to fend
for himself for years. He defined a successful day as a day that he could get
home to bed alive. His life goal was to survive to the age of 19. He shared his
story with hope in his eyes, however. He discovered Covenant House a number of
months ago and is now working on completing his high school diploma. He then
plans to enroll in college with the intent of becoming a youth worker. His life
goal is no longer just survival, it’s now working at Covenant House when he
graduates to help others who are living a life similar to his. It made me
realize how minor my day-to-day challenges are.
I also sat
through a small group discussion on street gang activity in Toronto. This
discussion was led by a former gang member who has turned his life around and
is now attending university. He is working in the community to help youth get
out of a life of violence. Again, this was an eye-opening presentation that
showed how big this problem is and how Covenant House is helping youth caught
in gang activity to turn their lives around.
The Sleep Out
was a little colder than last year. We each received a sleeping bag and
cardboard on which to sleep. Coincidentally, we took up residence for the night
close to Gerrard and Church Street, directly across from the Ryerson
Centre for Urban Innovation, a project
currently under construction by PCL. I have spent some late nights working at
construction sites in my day, but the stark contrast in looking up at a PCL
site from the ground in the middle of the night was a defining moment for me.
My night was
generally uneventful, but I again experienced the sounds of Toronto at night.
The city really changes after 2 a.m. and the sounds punctuated by sirens are
completely different than Toronto during the day. I didn’t have an encounter
with a rat this year, but still received a good taste of what our homeless
youth experience every night. 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. 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.
fundraising initiative is part of an international movement that saw more than 1,100
executives in 19 cities across North America raise needed funds to combat teen
homelessness in support of Covenant House. Gathering on the Thursday night of
the week prior to American Thanksgiving, these business leaders stand vigil for
homeless youth and wield their influence to raise awareness and critical funds
for the poorest and most vulnerable among us. The Executive Sleep Out effort
was also augmented this year by the first-ever Sleep Out
effort, in which people from all over the United States stepped out of their
homes to sleep outside to benefit Covenant House.
are still being accepted. For more information about the Sleep Out and its
participants, or to make a donation, please visit executivesleepout.ca.
Covenant House Toronto
House Toronto is Canada’s largest agency serving at-risk, homeless, and
trafficked youth and offers a wide range
of services and support. To do this, the agency relies on donors for more than
80 percent of its $27-million annual operating budget. Since opening its doors
in 1982, Covenant House has served almost 95,000 young people. For
more information, visit covenanthousetoronto.ca.
PCL Constructors Canada Inc. (Toronto)
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 110-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.
MEDIA INQUIRIES, OR HIGH-RESOLUTION PHOTOS PLEASE CONTACT:
PCL Constructors Canada Inc. (Toronto)