Why would a millionaire or a celebrity choose to sleep on the streets of New York City?
Two words: Homeless youth.
Most of us can’t fathom being homeless as adults — but what if you were a teenager?
The shocking reality is that nearly one in 30 children in America experiences homelessness every year, according to a recent study by the National Center for Family Homelessness.
Covenant House, an organization that helps homeless youth, is holding its fourth annual Sleep Out Executive Edition in New York City, where they invite more than 200 executives to actually sleep on the street for a night to raise money — and awareness. The motto is “We sleep out so others don’t have to.”
For the past three years I’ve written a check to show my support. This year, my friend Tod Monaghan, the VP of Development for Covenant House, convinced me to join them.
“Turney, are you going to man up or what?” he said over the phone before even saying hello.
I knew there was only one answer to that question: “Yes,” I said.
This is no joke. We’re sleeping on the street. Although it won’t be the real thing, they make it as authentic as possible. I’ll be given a standard sleeping bag, a cardboard box and a hat.
We each had to raise $5,000, which I just completed this morning. When I worked on Wall Street, I could have done that in about 15 minutes. But today, it seems like a big number. It took me a month.
I have, over the past 30 days, had some hesitation about sleeping on the street for a night. Is it even safe? Regardless if it is or not — I convinced my mother it was. Then I started thinking about the weather elements. But I quickly forgot about all of that after meeting a few of the teens at the crisis center this past Monday. I spent some time with Hanna, who was on the streets at 13. Both her parents were drug addicts and she had no other choice. “I’m three years sober and in college,” she said. She had a genuine smile… see more