Executive Sleeper Spotlight: Colleen Raley

In just ONE week, more than 30 community leaders will spend one night on the parking lot of Covenant House Missouri to increase awareness of youth homelessness and raise funds in support of our mission. They’ll be participating in our sixth annual Sleep Out: Executive Edition. The funds raised by this event will go directly to helping young people find a way off the street to safety, warmth, advanced education, employment and so much more.

This year, we welcome Colleen Raley and Bryan Luebbert, Principals with Edward Jones who are serving as the Executive Sleep Out Co-Chairs and leading our Sleep Out efforts on November 16. Colleen has participated in our Sleep Out for several years and always looks forward to meeting the youth we serve and hearing their individual stories. She says they are heartbreaking and at the same time, inspiring.

“One young girl told us she became homeless when her mother went to prison,” says Colleen. “Her father had not been in their lives for many years. Her mother assured her that she had arranged for her to stay with her aunt, but when she arrived at her aunt’s, the front door was locked and the aunt refused to let her in. She told us she sat on their front steps for several hours until she realized they weren’t going to take care of her. She eventually made her way to Covenant House Missouri.”

Colleen says the experience of sleeping out will stay with you. “I don’t think I ever slept,” says Colleen. “It was too cold and too uncomfortable. I kept wondering what it would feel like to be a 16 or 17-year-old girl without a safe place to sleep at night. As participants, we knew we were safe. We knew we could go home the next morning. Homeless teens get up the next morning and have to wonder all over again where they will sleep that night and whether they will be safe.”

As we move into the holiday season and single-digit temperatures, helping homeless teens is critically important. The “Sleep Out” is just one night, but it’s a great start. If you would like to join Colleen on November 16 – there’s still time! Each sleeper commits to raising a minimum of $5,000 in support of Covenant House Missouri’s mission. This represents the amount needed to support one youth in our Transitional Living Program for six months. You can contact me at sking@covenanthousemo.org or 314-450-7661. You can also go to stlouis.executivesleepout.org for more information.

If you can’t sleep out, you can still support Colleen or any of our sleepers. Go to stlouis.executivesleepout.org and click on “Who’s Sleeping Out.” You will see a list of participating sleepers and you can donate on any individual’s page. Your support will help us reach our fundraising goal of $450,000.

Please join us on November 16!

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