I’m sleeping out on Friday night. On April 29th, in an act of solidarity, I’ll forego sleeping in my bed and join a team of compassionate women ‘sleeping on the streets so homeless kids don’t have to.’ Covenant House New Jersey’s annual fundraising event, the Sleep Out, is happening this week and I’ll be joining (from Belize) team Mission Possible. The all-women team is comprised of current and past staff members of CH. It has been a long time since I roamed the halls of the crisis center in Atlantic City but the friendships forged and the lessons learned will linger in my head and my heart for a lifetime.
Covenant House crisis centers provide youth between the ages of 18 and 21 with emergency housing, meals, medical care, educational and vocational training, legal aid, case management and so much more. The Atlantic City shelter was my first job out of college and such a beautiful, sad, messy, hectic, didactic, agonizing and enlightening experience. I wouldn’t trade my 5 1/2 years at CH for any other work place education (I wouldn’t repeat it either though- when they talk about human service providers “burning out” that is an apt description; holy cow that work will exhaust every fiber of your being).
I’ll always “love the Cov” and support the tremendous job they do and I hope my North American readers will do the same by donating to a shelter near them (there are 27 CH shelters scattered across the US) or ‘sponsoring’ my Sleep Out this week. I want to thank my old friend and one-time mentor, Jennifer Williams, for reaching out and thinking to include me on the team. She’s been a longtime champion for the young people that have cycled through the CH doors; nearly 25 years in the field, can you believe it?!?
Support the kids at Covenant Houses in New Jersey by donating here: