Each March, Spectrum Youth & Family Services holds a Sleep Out here in Vermont - a night where business and community leaders come together to spend the night outside to raise awareness and financial support for homeless and at-risk teens and young adults. Juliet Moran - along with a team of Seventh Generation employees - worked to not only raise money for the cause, but spent a cold March night sleeping in downtown Burlington. She shares her experience below.
Last week a small group of Seventh Generation employees braved the cold Northeast weather and intentionally slept outside on cardboard boxes in downtown Burlington, Vermont. The purpose of the sleep out was raise awareness and money for homeless and at risk teens and young adults in our home state of Vermont and to support Spectrum Youth and Family Services; a local non-profit that has been serving our community since 1970. This wonderful organization provides basic services such as food, clothing and shelter to young adults who may not otherwise have access to these basic necessities. In addition to helping these kids get a meal and a roof over their head, Spectrum also provide coaching related to finding and keeping jobs and long term housing and continuing education. Spectrum provides counseling for mental health issues, substance abuse and issues related to violence. Spectrum deals with heavy issues as do their 2,000 clients.
The Sleep Out is the major fundraiser for Spectrum and this is the third year I participated. This year the Seventh Generation team of seven people raised over $25,000 with the support of our amazing colleagues and business partners. Seventh Generation is an organization that has giving and supporting our local community baked into our DNA. Supporting local in all ways is important to us and when there is there is an opportunity our team is always eager and willing to step up.
To raise money, our senior leadership team and our Board of Directors, auctioned off interesting prizes. Our trade show expert, Mary Winters, sold Seventh Generation product after a recent show and contributed money to our cause. Our team at HQ sponsored a fantastic lunch and the donations collected were put towards our cause. In support of the event, a few team members set up a tarp that we slept under and the next day others came from our company to clean up. Over one hundred people donated to us financially.
Sleeping out in Vermont in March is not fun. It was cold, with freezing rain and muddy. I woke up several times wishing I had warmer clothing, a better sleeping bag and a dry bed. The experience made me grateful for what I have and aware of what others don’t in a way that only sleeping on the street can. As terrible as that experience was, the heartwarming support I received will drive me out there next year. It fills me with pride that our collective efforts were so impactful and will provide basic needs for the future generation and help others that need it.
If this inspired you, I am glad. Please, pay it forward. If you supported me, my team or Spectrum, we humbly thank you for your kindness and your gift.