Event Details

THIS IS NOT A RUBBER CHICKEN GALA DINNER.

Sleep Out is an immersive experience that allows you to explore the causes of youth homelessness, connect with the kids at Covenant House and learn about how your fundraising is supporting tangible solutions.  Most importantly, by taking up the challenge of spending one night on the streets with nothing but a sleeping bag and a piece of cardboard, you are demonstrating your commitment to making a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable.

Dinner

We convert our gym into an event space and sleepers have the chance to engage with current and alumni Covenant House Toronto youth along with front-line staff. Dinner is prepared and served by the youth in our Cooking for Life program and features typical menu items that are served to our youth on a daily basis. There is ample opportunity to connect and make a genuine impression on our youth during dinner, and many past sleepers have found this to be a very impactful part of the evening.

Your attention will be focused on the youth when they muster the courage to get up and speak in front of the crowd – sharing their personal stories about how they came to us, what they've endured and where they are now. Their stories may be heartbreaking but many are also heartwarming. You'll hear first-hand how the dollars raised directly help our youth. 

Causes, Challenges and Solutions to Youth Homelessness

After dinner sleepers are divided into groups for additional programming designed to enhance your understanding of the roots and challenges surrounding youth homelessness, the work we do and how to help be a part of the solution. 

Awards Ceremony/Sleep Out Challenge

We regroup in the gym for an awards ceremony where we celebrate participants who have gone to extraordinary lengths to raise funds and cheer very loudly for our top fundraiser.

Get ready to brave the cold and hit the streets. At 11pm, sleepers gather their sleeping bags and a piece of cardboard and head out to our designated sleeping spot. It will be dark with few streetlights, quiet and yet, startling as the sounds of street life go on around you.

As sleepers settle in to their sleeping bags on the cold, hard ground, they know they will soon go home to familiar surroundings. That knowledge makes the night bearable, but at the same time reinforces all that homeless youth do not have. Each sleeper experiences a unique epiphany that lingers long after the event.

Media and Publicity

The event will be highly publicized through public relations activities and social media channels – it will raise awareness with the business community and the general public. Last year, the National Post and Globe & Mail featured a list of all participants.
Sleepers return year after year because participating in the event is an eye-opening experience that often deepens a commitment to our youth. It is also an opportunity to engage with other professionals in a meaningful way while being a part of a solution.

K-Club

Each year we take time to recognize sleepers who have hit exceptional fundraising milestones of 10, 25 and 40K in support of our kids and present the top fundraiser with a trophy. Challenge yourself to join this elite group.

FAQs

WHAT IS EXPECTED OF ME AS A PARTICIPANT?

  • Covenant House asks that you commit to raising a minimum of $5,000. However, most of our participants raise more.  Last year the average sleeper raised just over $15,000!  It is as easy as sending a few e-mails.
  • Fundraising is made easy by way of your personal page on the event website.  This page will be set up for you, and once you are registered a link to your page will be sent directly to your inbox.  We provide detailed user instructions, sample fundraising letters and strategies.
  • You will need to supply a photo and a short bio for the website.
  • Bring a friend - or two!  Recruit someone to take on the challenge with you.
  • On event night show up ready for an experience you will not soon forget.

THERE ARE A FEW THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW...

  • What to bring – Please be prepared to dress in layers and don't forget to bring your own toiletries and prescriptions. No alcohol is permitted. We encourage you to bring your own sleeping bags, but will have extra sleeping bags available.  Cardboard will be provided and in the spirit of the event, pillows are not allowed.
  • Security – We will have thorough security monitoring the grounds throughout the night. 
  • Media – There may be media covering the event. We will provide you with information and assistance in case you are approached for an interview
  • Parking – Parking is available close to Covenant House.
  • TTC - Covenant House is located between the Dundas & College Subway stops
  • Additional details will follow closer to the event date.

WHAT'S THE PLAN FOR THE NIGHT?

6:30 pm - Arrival and Registration
7:00 pm - Dinner served by the youth in our Cooking for Life program
8:00 pm - Speeches by Covenant House alumni
9:00 pm - Tours and evening programming
11:00 pm - Gather sleeping bags and card board