Read how Essex High School (EHS) students slept outside in solidarity with homeless youth and at-risk youth for the 12th annual sleepout organized by Spectrum in the Essex Reporter, by Kate Vanni, Staff Writer. April 3, 2023.
EWSD — Tents were pitched and hammocks hung on the front lawn of Essex High School as students set up to sleep outside in solidarity with homeless Vermont youth and youth at risk of homelessness, Thursday, March 30.
The students’ efforts were led by the school’s Athletic Leadership Council, participating in the 12th annual sleepout organized by Spectrum, a Burlington and St. Albans-based youth and family services organization.
Spectrum is a nationally-recognized leader, serving youth ages 12-26 and their families since 1970. Each year, Spectrum serves 1,500 teens, young adults, and their family members.
EHS was among seven other schools across Vermont participating in the Sleep Out.
EHS senior Peyton Ashe began setting up her tent while the sun was still up, well before the 9:30 p.m. start time for the event.
“I just wanted to support youth homelessness and just stay outside so we can kind of feel what it’s like for someone who might be at risk for homelessness, what they might have to go through on a daily basis, even though we have a nice tent and they’re gonna have blankets and stuff so it’s gonna be a little nicer,” Ashe told the Reporter.
Leading up to the sleepout date, participants asked family and friends to support Spectrum with donations. EHS students surpassed their fundraising goal, raising $4,306. Spectrum’s overall goal this year was $400,000.
“With your help, we are making sure that every teenager and young adult in our community has a place to go when they need help most,” Spectrum’s donation page states.