Execs Sleep Out for Homeless Youth

TORONTO, ON, Oct. 31, 2012 – Leafs GM Brian Burke and Arlene Dickinson of Dragons’ Den have joined forces to lead business and community leaders as they sleep out to help homeless kids at Covenant House beat the street.

The inaugural Covenant House Sleep Out: Executive Edition will see participants spend the night of Nov. 15 outside with only sleeping bags to raise awareness and funds for the downtown agency. The local effort will be part of an international event happening simultaneously at 12 Covenant House sites across North America, including Vancouver.

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair and Sleep Country Canada’s Christine Magee are among the more than 40 participants.

Burke says he hopes to “shed light on the plight of homeless youth and encourage more people to help give the kids at Covenant House the opportunities they deserve. Kids struggle with issues, but doing this without a home base or support is a hard hill to climb.”

“We’re getting an amazing response from people willing to participate with us,” says Co-chair Dickinson. “I know we’re only going to get a glimpse of what kids go through and it is unimaginable for most of us.”

Bruce Rivers, Executive Director of Covenant House Toronto, the country’s largest shelter and support service for homeless kids, says there are an estimated 10,000 kids spending some time on the city’s streets annually. The agency helps about 3,500 youth annually.

“The street is dangerous and often deadly for kids who are vulnerable to people who wait to exploit them,” he says. “We are thrilled that these community leaders have taken up the cause and I expect we’re going to have a memorable night.”

The local campaign is set to raise $230,000 and the North America-wide goal is $2 million.

Contact: Rose Cino
Manager, Communications
(416) 204-7081

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Facts & Stats

There are 10,000 homeless youth in Toronto each year

Homeless youth are forty times more likely to die than other youth

70% of homeless youth are fleeing homes with abuse and neglect

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