PCL Constructors Canada Inc. (Toronto) vice-president and district manager Bruce Sonnenberg was one of about 80 of Toronto’s business and community leaders who slept on the street Nov. 17 on help homeless youth.
Participants in the sixth annual Covenant House Sleep Out: Executive Edition spent the night outside with only a sleeping bag and piece of cardboard to raise awareness and much-needed funds for the agency.
The group aimed to collect $1 million in one night, with $996,788.00 raised just before the evening. Last year, participants spent a cold night to raise a total of $1,067,000, bringing the total to date to nearly $6 million for all Sleep Out events.
NHL alumnus Paul Coffey, Maureen Jensen, chair and CEO, Ontario Securities Commission and David Bradt, executive director, CIBC Global Markets were among the participants getting a small glimpse of the hardships kids can face on the street.
The event, in support of Covenant House Toronto, is part of Covenant House’s national movement, where more than 1,100 executives in 18 cities across North America raise needed funds to combat teen homelessness.
Gathering on the Thursday night of the week prior to American Thanksgiving, these business leaders stand vigil for homeless children and wield their influence to raise awareness and critical funds for the poorest and most vulnerable among us. The Executive Sleep Out effort has been augmented this year by the first-ever Sleep Out America effort, in which people from coast to coast step out of their homes to sleep outside to benefit Covenant House.
Sonnenberg’s has slept on the street four times in support of Covenant House Toronto. Take a look at his personal reflection on his experience last year.
Bruce Rivers, Covenant House Toronto executive director, says that as many as 250 young people depend on the agency’s support every day.
“We are most grateful to the business community for such generous support of this life-changing experience,” Rivers says. “Our goal is to help shine a light on the plight of homeless youth and raise funds to help us give our kids the support they need to build better futures.”
Covenant House Toronto is Canada’s largest agency serving at-risk, homeless and trafficked youth offering a wide range of services and support. To do all this, the agency relies on donors for more than 80 percent of its $27-million annual operating budget. Since opening its doors in 1982, Covenant House has served almost 95,000 young people.