(May 1, Lakewood, N.J.) — When Covenant House President Kevin Ryan visited Georgian Court last year and spoke about the myriad problems associated with teen homelessness, GCU students did more than just listen.
They decided to sleep outdoors for a night as a show of support for the 2 million young people in the U.S. and Canada who run away or are kicked out of their homes each year and ultimately end up homeless and hungry.
“On Friday, May 2, Georgian Court students will be supplied with a cardboard box to sleep on overnight on the Great Lawn,” said David Schenck, a 19-year-old biology major from Manchester. “They are allowed to bring a blanket, but no pillow, as we really are trying to emphasize what it is truly like to be homeless.”
The effort is one of many affiliated with Covenant House, the largest provider of services to homeless and trafficked youth throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala. Also called a “solidarity sleep out,” the activity is intended to underscore the plight of homeless teens and their daily struggle for basic human rights.
The event, which will include only GCU students, begins with a 7 p.m. talk by Covenant House Ambassador Jennifer Williams of South Jersey. A candlelight vigil will be led by GCU Campus Ministry Director Jeff Schaeffer, followed by poetry readings and group discussions in the North Dining Room.
The evening concludes with GCU students sleeping on the Great Lawn. Participants are asking for donors to contribute resources—from money to toiletries to clothing—to help homeless teens.
“Every little bit helps, and even raising awareness will help this issue get the attention it deserves,” said David.