Annie Cooper, Essex High School parent and organizer of the EHS Student Sleep Out, wrote this blog post about their team’s experience. As of this writing, the group raised $2200 to support homeless and at-risk youth in Vermont.
At 5:15 am on Friday, March 28th, with an inch of snow layered over sleeping heads, bags, school bags, sports bags packed from last night’s late night practice, 29 Essex High School Students woke up, packed up and headed indoors, with a good solid look at a winter’s night of homelessness in Vermont.
Our evening began with choosing cardboard, donated by Lowe’s of Essex Junction (thanks, Russ!), with students receiving Spectrum Sleep Out hats and gathering on the ground to lay out their sleeping bags and blankets.
Essex High School Students Adam Turner and Hannah Turner of Moose on the Loose, a local band, came to play well chosen, beautifully delivered, appropriately meaningful songs, which caused our students to cheer and beg for more, even while Adam’s hands turned nearly too cold for his guitar.
We had a speaker. A 28 year old woman who is now married with 2 children, owns her own home, runs her own business, come and speak to the students about her time in Essex schools, her constant struggle with homelessness and her incredible story of strength and integrity.
After seeking help from Spectrum Youth & Family Services, this woman went on to finish high school, earn her degree and is currently still attending college classes towards the degree she began with the support of Spectrum.
Spectrum helped her discover healthy relationships with adults who guided her to safe places to live and resources for success.
Our students asked thoughtful, poignant questions and handled the challenging answers with grace and respect.
These 29 Essex High School Students will attend their classes today, after being on cold cement all night long, and face a full day of school and all of the expectations that come with it, in further solidarity with area homeless youth, for whom this experience is a reality, on a regular basis.
We hope that this evening lends itself to further school and community wide discussion regarding those who struggle and how we can best reach out and assist.
EHS SLEEP OUT TEAM