Tonight, students and staff will brave the weather to sleep outside for the sixth annual Con-X Sleep Out: Student Edition. Sleep Out is a fundraiser, and an event to raise awareness concerning the stigma and challenges of homeless youth.

“The purpose of this event is to raise funds and awareness for homeless youth in Vancouver by donating to Covenant House,” explained Sophia Huang, grade 12 and event coordinator. “With these funds, we can provide teenagers with [the] basic necessities to change their lives.”

Covenant House is an organization located in Downtown Vancouver that helps homeless youth through their various outreach programs. Participants are asked to raise $200 each to cover the expense of one youth’s night at Covenant House.

“We do want to stress that the goal of Sleep Out is to help Covenant House financially in order to continue to provide resources and facilities in support of the youth,” said Carrie Hu, grade 12 and event organizer.

“Only a sufficient amount of money can help us reach the effect we want,” added Hu.

“It’s not difficult to fundraise because people in the community are so supportive of the cause and because youth homelessness is something we are all aware of,” commented Lucas Hung, grade 11 and event coordinator.
The Con-X committee has organized activities designed to inform and educate attendants before the night.

“There’s a lot of myths that are debunked,” commented Adam Hayes, leadership and Con-X teacher.

Activities includes a showing of a documentary titled Streets of Plenty that chronicles Misha Kleider’s journey to live homeless for 31 days in the Downtown Eastside. Other activities include role play, discussions and stations that focus on different aspects of homelessness.

“The games planned for the night mimic some of the real life problems that a homeless youth would encounter,” explained Hu.

“The goal of implementing these games is to let the participants gain a better understanding of the harsh environment on the streets, and we try to create a setting as close to real life as possible,” added Hu.

“The most impartial experience they’ll have is obviously the Sleep Out. All the lights stay on, there are going to be alarms and ambulances sounding throughout the night. It’s going to be [very] cold too,” said Hung.

“There are no tarps or coverings besides the small roof. If it rains or snows, [attendees] will continue to endure the harsh environment until the clamoring wake-up call at 6 am,” added Huang.

There are 26 participants this year including the Con-X committee. In addition to Hung, Hu and Huang, the committee is made up of Nathan Cushing, and Jiwon Hwang, both grade 11.

“Every year, [Sleep Out has] raised no less than $4500-$5000,“ concluded Hayes. “It’s an amazing night and we always have lots of people from the community come out.”