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Cold night, warm hearts

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From left to right, Ilka Pritchard, Jess Smith, and Shannon Foster, team members

This is a guest blog post by Ilka Pritchard, Certified Scrum Master at

Just like that, the 2017 Executive Sleep Out is over and I’m back in my warm home reflecting on the significance of this annual event. My colleagues and I raised over $26,000, and I’m left feeling proud, hopeful, and like we’re nowhere close to being “done” supporting our at-risk and homeless youth.

This year our team was 10 people—a new event for a few, and for several of us it was our second, third, fourth (for me) and even fifth time. Every year leading up to the Sleep Out, I worry about reaching my personal goal as well as the team goal, but am always astounded by the support I see from friends, colleagues, and community members allowing us to CRUSH our goal.

I’ve seen donations from all parts of the world, colleagues paying top dollar for baked goods & chili tastings, local businesses making generous donations for our silent auctions and raffles, and more.

Why? Why do people open their wallets, share posts, and, for the love of Dog, spend a night sleeping outside in the cold when they have their own warm beds at home? It’s simple: most of us empathize with the young people who are hovering somewhere between childhood and adulthood who lack the basics to survival that we often take for granted.

Another reason why we see such an outpouring of support has everything to do with Spectrum and their unwavering commitment to giving young people the tools they need to build a path to a successful life and to thrive. From what I’ve learned about Spectrum, mere survival is not enough. From the Drop-In Center that has the feeling of a family living room, to the housing, counseling, healthcare, and all other services they provide, Spectrum cares for their young clients holistically and it is evident in all of their interactions.

Spectrum’s integrity, and the creative way they’ve found to run an effective, low-overhead fundraiser is a winning combination. Plus, the Sleep Out provides a profoundly special opportunity to be connected with and surrounded by like-minded people with a commitment to our community.

In a sometimes-crazy world it gives me peace of mind to know how many people can come together to help a cause like this. It is my wish that the youth we serve feel the love and care that we put into these efforts and that it gives them hope – because hope is something money can’t buy.


Photos by Brian Jenkins

See you at the 2018 Spectrum Sleep Out!

Spectrum and the team would like to thank these businesses for their generous donations to our silent auction that helped us raise over $4,000 beyond our individual and corporate funds raised:

ArtsRiot; The Spot; WND&WVS; Play Dog Play; Oh My Dog!; Dedalus Wine Shop; Hen of the Wood; Burton Snowboards, Inc.; Must Love Yarn; Higher Ground.


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