Essex High School participated in the Spectrum Sleep Out for the second year, and raised over $500 this year for our youth. The following is a reflection from one student who slept out. It’s reprinted here with permission.
First of all, one challenging part was figuring out how I was going to stay on top of my homework and participate in this event because I typically do homework until 10pm. It took a lot of focused work ahead of time to make sure I had enough work done for school on Friday. It made me think about all the extra thinking ahead of time that someone would have to do if they didn’t have a steady or constant home to go to every night.
I was not cold sleeping outside, but I did have the advantage of a nice sleeping bag on a relatively warm night on dry ground. It made me thankful that my family has the ability to buy sleeping bags to go on vacations, but other people buy them as means of survival. It was hard, however, to sleep with all the bright lights and noise (from cars and other students).
Friday at school was really hard because I felt really tired and also kind of dirty and gross. It is so much harder to go to school without getting to wake up and take a shower and go through your normal morning routine. I struggled to stay focused during the day because I was tired.
Overall, this was a really gratifying experience that taught me about being comfortable and being uncomfortable, and it also gave me some perspective on what homeless teens face on an everyday basis. I am looking forward to participating in this event next year!