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“Why I sleep out?”

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The City of Burlington team sleeps out in 2016. Clockwise from top right: John St. Amour, Neale Lunderville, Mike Kanarick, and Val DeBrita.

John St. Amour, who’s sleeping out for his second year with the City of Burlington, shared his story about why he’s sleeping out, and we wanted to share it with you. On March 23rd, community and business leaders are sleeping out for one night in solidarity with youth who are homeless in the Spectrum Sleep Out. That same weekend, hundreds of students will do the same.

I chose to participate in my first Sleep Out in 2016. I have a family member who had used Spectrum’s services, and while they chose to not be successful, I wanted to give back for the kids in our community that really could benefit.

I had no idea what to expect, since I had never “camped” in winter before. I went home and shared my involvement with my wife and my children (4 & 6) at the time. My kids did not understand why Daddy was going to sleep outside on the ground, instead of a warm bed.

I explained to them that many people locally do not have the comforts we do, and it was time to give back. I also said that if something ever happens, and one of them needs support, I want to make sure Spectrum exists and can be there for them.

I am participating again this year for this simple reason: the kids on the street need our support and they need our voices. I will survive the night out, I will go to work Friday, then go back home to my loving family, and a warm house and bed. Someday, I hope my efforts—OUR efforts—can make the reality that we live in the same for others who are less fortunate.

Believe me when I tell you this: the Sleep Out is so much more than sleeping outside in a sleeping bag on some cardboard with a canopy overhead. Come join our efforts and learn how you can make a difference!

Register for the Sleep Out by February 28th and you’re entered to win an iPad Air 2 from Small Dog Electronics!


Mike, Val, John, and Neale at the 2016 Sleep Out, ready to head outside for the night.

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