On Wednesday, October 30th and Monday, November 4th over 200 gentlemen from Saint Joseph’s Regional High School in Montvale, NJ came together in solidarity in hopes of raising money and awareness for the problem that is youth homelessness across the state.
This event is led every year by John Asselta and Joseph LoGuidice who were the staff leads in helping to make this Sleep Out edition one of the most successful student run ones not just across the state but in the country. It has been a tradition over the past few years and has grown into something so much greater than anyone here at Covenant House could have anticipated.
The night started with Executive Director, Jim White speaking to each group, “Do not see this experience as small because God works in small miracles. Be a reflection of God’s love for each other and the world.” He spoke about the divinity, strength, and resilience within the youth at Covenant House, that each have talents and stories that will move you.
Four Covenant House youth, three of which were alumni, took the stage to do a panel discussion and tell briefly their story and how they found their way to the doors of Covenant House, in moments that were dark and lonely. One youth is a successful performer in Atlantic City. Another manages multiple jobs and is a graduate of Montclair State University, both received scholarships or grants to pursue a future in music education. The third youth works at Seton Hall University with certifications in nursing. And the final youth, newest to the Covenant House family, found his way to the doors of Newark’s Crisis Center only a week ago.
Following the panel discussion, were breakout groups where each youth and a staff member got to know the students of St Joe’s a little more, having an open conversation about some of the things they had seen and heard over the night. When asked what they would miss most if being forced to live on the streets, the majority of the students answered their family and a feeling of safety and security.