At least I wasn’t alone.

James Speakman

That’s what was going through my mind in the middle of last night, as I lay in a sleeping bag with only a thin piece of cardboard between the bag and the pavement of the lane where I lay. I was one of over 50 business leaders participating in Covenant House Vancouver’s Sleep Out: Executive Edition, spending one night sleeping on the street to raise funds to support Covenant House’s Residential Crisis Programs.

Even though I was wearing four layers of warmth, the cold pavement chilled me to the bones. I’ve rarely been that cold, and I’ve always previously been able to deal with the cold by moving or changing location. In my bag, committed to sleeping on the pavement, there was no alternative.

But, I was with a community of 50 other “sleepers”, overseen by half a dozen representatives of Covenant House and others. We were safe and secure and were “all in it together”. And, the rain had stopped an hour before we went outside.

At that point I thought about the homeless youth who we were raising funds to support, who are invariably alone in the streets at night, without the four layers of warm clothes that I could acquire and are frequently wet from our November rain, and for whom it would not be just one night in the cold, followed by a hot shower in a home with a loving and supportive family and then a job to go to.

I realized how horrible it would be to be young, homeless, cold, wet and alone, and was thankful that there is a place such as Covenant House that we can support to help youth escape the street.

I am proud to have been part of the group which raised over $1,120,000 last night for Covenant House and I look forward to spreading what I learned to all who will listen in the days ahead.

James Speakman