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Local Sleep-out to Raise Awareness for Homeless Youth

This coming Friday marks a first for Rare Breed Youth Services, which is part of The Kitchen, inc. The agency will be hosting a sleep-out fundraiser at Missouri State University’s Plaster Stadium. The event's slogan is “We sleep-out so homeless youth don’t have to.” KSMU’s Theresa Carter spoke with organizers of the event to find out more.

In the last year more than 80 local homeless youths found help through area youth programs. Yet there are many more homeless youth that have not made it into those programs. The numbers reach into the hundreds when you consider how many youth spend just one night out on the streets each year. Todd Duncan, coordinator for youth services for The Kitchen, Inc., explains that there are many reasons youth wind up homeless.

"The issue of youth homelessness is extremely complicated. It's a matter of family functioning, as well as turbulence that often begins at a young age. It is a combination fo poverty and generational cycles of poverty and homelessness. It's just an extremely complicated set of circumstances, but not all that uncommon."

This weekend’s sleep-out is designed to be a fun and educational way to bring about awareness of the homeless youth problem, while raising much needed funds for local outreach programs. Although the activities are designed to be fun, the problem of homelessness is quite serious. Participants of the event will spend Friday night through Saturday morning under the stars at MSU’s Plaster Sports Complex. Duncan tells about just one of the evening’s activities.

"We have an Extreme Home make-under contest. You can build you best cardboard box house and enter it into a competition for prizes. You can even sleep in your creation if you wish to."

Friday’s sleep-out will take place “rain or shine”, and will go from 7pm until 7 Saturday morning. All proceeds will go to support local youth outreach programs, which are otherwise supported solely by grants and donations. Registration is required for this event. You can sign up online or on site the day of the event. Click here for a link to more information.

For KSMU News, I’m Theresa Carter.