Covenant House Sleep Out Recap

Pictured (L-R): Joel Abramson, CEO of Fully Managed, John Robertshaw, Owner of Brunswick Property Holdings Ltd
Writen by Joel Abramson.

On November 17, I slept on the street for the first time. Unlike the hundreds of BC youth who have no other option, I chose to spend the night on the cold concrete in order to support Covenant House Vancouver.

Now in its 8th year, the Covenant House Sleep Out saw over 60 local Executives spend the night on the streets in an effort to raise awareness for youth homelessness. Together, we raised nearly one million dollars to help create a bridge between youth on the street and a path forward.

I didn’t know much about Covenant House before this night, but I was inspired to sign up for the Sleep Out event after seeing Brent Twist, CEO of Encore Business Solutions, fundraising on his LinkedIn page. He in turn was inspired by Joseph Tolzman, CEO of Superior Restoration, whom I had previously introduced into his MacKay CEO Forum group. I guess everything comes full circle.

The night began with a tour of the Covenant House Vancouver facility, where we met three young people who had been through the program and turned their lives around. Covenant House was there for them when they were shut out from the world, and at only 16 years old, I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be to be alone on the street. 

Once we got outside, it was cold, wet, and much more challenging than I had anticipated. I have to admit, I headed into the evening rather lightly, thinking to myself that during my travels around the world I had slept in some funny places, so how bad could it be?

It turns out that spending the night on hard, wet cement with nothing but a piece of cardboard as support, is an entirely different world. Not only was it cold and uncomfortable, but as a seasoned sleeper was quick to point out to me, setting up along the wall was not a great idea as that's ‘where the rats like to run’. Needless to say, the thought of sharing my sleeping bag with rats didn’t make the night any easier.

When morning came, I counted approximately 90 minutes of total sleep (which was 90 minutes more than I thought I would get when I first put my head on the concrete). I ran home for a warm shower and was a bit fuzzy eyed at my 8am meeting, but the thought of spending every night there and then having to go hunt for a job, or worse yet, hunt for a meal, certainly put things in perspective.

I am grateful for the support I received in my first year with Sleep Out, and proud to have opened a channel for my network to support Covenant House and all that they do. I hope that sharing my story with family and friends over the holidays will inspire everyone to evaluate what cause is important to them, and do their part to support it.

Collectively our power is endless, so thank you to everyone that supported me through this night – and to all who support their own special causes, making a difference for those in need.

If you would like to support my Covenant House Sleep Out campaign, donations can be made until December 31, 2017. Click here to donate

To learn more about Sleep Out, check out this great video from Global TV.

To see photos from the evening, click here.