Up all night

Notables Sleep Out for Homeless Youth  |

Authentic empathy comes through experience.  This Thursday night, 70 local executives, students, community leaders and educators will gain a full measure of both when they spend the night outdoors in support of the county’s homeless youth.

The second Sleep Out for Homeless Youth event is coordinated by Attention Homes and the First United Methodist Church of Boulder, and held on the church’s lawn near 15th and Spruce Street in downtown Boulder.

Participants can bring a sleeping bag and flashlight, but otherwise will be vulnerable to the elements and the urban environment.

“It’s a really eye-opening experience to hear the sounds of the city all through the night,” says Tina Di Scipio, a Realtor at RE/MAX of Boulder and long-time supporter of Attention Homes who is participating for the second time. “It’s 3 a.m., you’re half awake, and suddenly you hear footsteps. You don’t know who it is, why they’re out, and if they’re going to bother you.”

Di Scipio explains that while the Sleep Out has security people on hand who remain awake throughout the night, the exposure feels intense.

That’s just the kind of empathy Attention Homes hopes to evoke.

Tonight and every night in Boulder County, some 200 young people will be without a safe place to stay – whether they are running away, abandoned, abused or deeply troubled, they lack traditional support systems and turn to the streets.

Attention Homes is there to help, with Boulder County’s only emergency overnight shelter and programs to get teens back into a stable situation. Eighty-one percent of the youth who use Attention Homes’ overnight shelter will ultimately transition to a stable housing situation and when possible, reunify with family.

A fund- and awareness-raising event, this year’s Sleep Out has nearly twice the participants of last year’s event, with each one raising $1,000 or more towards the cause of outreach to youth in crisis.

A cross-section of locals will partake, with Boulder County commissioners, city council members, Fairview high school’s principal and administrative team, Boulder high school’s swim coach, corporate executives, engineers and students all bundling up for a night under the stars.

Or clouds. The event is held rain or shine. Thursday’s forecast (as of Tuesday, Nov 12) includes temperatures in the low 30s and a chance of snow.

For Di Scipio, dedication to Attention Homes and the youth it serves was inspired by her work as a Realtor.

“My work is about finding homes for people, and I just thought that I shouldn’t only be serving those who are privileged enough to buy,” Discipio, a mother of four, explains. “Attention Homes is all about taking care of kids, and for me that’s a good fit.”

Attention Homes is our featured friend for November. Read more about the organization and its efforts to spread awareness during November’s Colorado Homeless and Runaway Youth Awareness month here