Most people who live in Guilford haven't ever been homeless. We take for granted a warm home, a meal, and a safe place to sleep. Nevertheless, homelessness is an issue not far beyond our town’s borders. New Haven alone contains 14% of Connecticut’s homeless population.
I’m Ella Stanley, a 17 year old high school student at Guilford High School who wants to do something about
homelessness, and I’m asking you to help me. For the last five years I have been an active participant in Abraham's Tent, an outreach program of Columbus House. For one week each year, St. George Church participates in the Abraham’s Tent program by sheltering and providing meals for 12 men who are homeless. My role throughout the event has been to socialize with the men: share meals, play games, and make them feel at home. Over the course of these weeks, I was surprised to discover that these men were different from what I had imagined a person who was homeless would be. Some had families, incredible talents, and hopes and dreams not so different from my own. It was this that opened my eyes to the fact that people who are homeless are just that; people who are not so different from you or me. Abraham's Tent carried this message to the small group taking part in the event, but I would like to bring this same message to our community and my peers in the hope that we can open the minds of Guilford to a new understanding of homelessness.
Last spring the first Big Sleep Out took place and was a huge success. Around 75 people from Guilford and surrounding areas came together to sleep out for one night on the Guilford Green. Presentations and workshops relating to the cause took place in the faith communities around the Green. In one such presentation, speakers shared their direct experiences with homelessness and participants gained a deeper understanding of the meaning of homelessness. During another workshop, the participants created the Big Sleep Out Quilt which now travels around town to spread the message of the
sleep out to places such as the Guilford Free Library, Guilford Parks and Rec, the Guilford Fair and many more. Due to the generosity of sponsors and donors, over $6000 of proceeds were donated to support the important work of Columbus House!
We hope you will consider supporting our mission by making a donation to The Big Sleep Out 2019. Your assistance
makes the work of Columbus House possible. For 35 years, Columbus House has been helping people experiencing
homelessness, and today they serve over 3,000 people throughout the region. Proceeds of The Big Sleep Out event will support Columbus House programs as well as pay for the event’s presentations, workshops, and supplies.
The Big Sleep Out will take place this spring on Saturday, April 27, 2019 on the Guilford Green. To donate, visit our
website at thebigsleepoutguilford.weebly.com. Please also consider joining us to sleep out by registering a team. For
further information, please contact me at [email redacted].
The Big Sleep Out
- HOLLY Langewisch
- Bethany Knight
- Lisa Peccini
- Elizabeth Gilbertson
- John Wilhelm
Organizer and beneficiary
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