Leaders Reflect On Night Slept Outside

ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) – After the Covenant House Executive Sleepout, successful grown-ups awoke Friday morning in north St. Louis after experiencing one night of teen homelessness.

Executives from Stiefel Nicolaus, Drury Inn and other companies joined civic leaders in sleeping on the pavement.  Some used cardboard under their sleeping bags on the parking lot of Covenant House.  The agency provides emergency and educational help for homeless teens.  The temperature dropped into the low 30s.

“It was cold out here.  This is not the coldest night,” Mayor Francis Slay pointed out.  “It gets colder than this out here.  So, we have thousands of teens out there who are they don’t have a place to stay.”

But Slay was very clear about one thing:  His accommodations were plush compared to what most homeless teens face.  The adults were surrounded by St. Louis City Police and offered snacks throughout the night.  Slay said if kids had to go to class after sleeping in worse conditions he would not take the day off.

Kevin Demoff, Chief Operating Officer of the St. Louis Football Rams, agreed, “To have to do the mental fatigue of where you’re going to sleep and what you’re going to sleep on, then to go up and face the entire day – knowing that no one is providing coffee and bagels and donuts when the kids wake up.  Just an amazing experience.”

City Operations Director Sam Dotson said if you want to know how kids can commit serious crimes like drug sales, prostitution or robbery, just spend one night on the pavement in the cold, “People don’t choose a life of crime. Sometimes they are forced into a life of crime.  And to be 16, 14, 13, some of these kids we met today are that young, to understand why and how they got into these situations – there’s always a reason why.”

Find out more: http://www.covenanthousemo.org/

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