CVU students sleep outside to support youth facing homelessness

HINESBURG, Vt. (WCAX) Champlain Valley Union High School students are waking up Friday morning on the cold, wet ground to support area youth facing homelessness.

Fifty-five CVU students pitched tents and spent the night in the elements. It was wet and about 40 degrees and students have sacrificed their usual comforts like electronics and heaters to support youth facing homelessness.

Usually, the Spectrum Youth and Family Services fundraiser is held in March. This year it was moved closer to Thanksgiving in the hopes the students will carry the lessons learned through the holidays.

Spectrum's Mark Redmond says it all started when a 9-year-old heard about the adult sleepout and spent the night in her backyard. He figured if she could do it, teens the same age as most of those on the streets could do it, too.

"All of a sudden it dawns on you, wow, this is a terrible way to live, but at least tomorrow I get to sleep in my bed. But if I was a young person and had to do this night after night after night, it would really be a miserable existence," said Redmond.

While it's an exercise in empathy, ultimately the sleepout is meant to raise money to help maintain services like the shelters and drop-in center.

CVU plans to contribute $5,000 through this sleepout alone.