COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado – A few dozen volunteers spend the night outdoors in Colorado Springs to help raise funds and educate youth about homelessness in the community. The Night Out project is taking place in downtown First United Methodist Church and will benefit The PLACE homeless youth shelter.
Executive Director Shawna Kemppainen said more than 300 young people in El Paso County are homeless every month. Half of them are not protected.
This is the seventh year of the Night Out project. Money is raised when donors sponsor someone online who is sleeping outside.
Before setting up camp for the night, participants enjoyed a hot supper prepared by church volunteers. PLACE staff took part in a panel discussion and participants also took part in role-play exercises to better understand the emotional trauma faced by homeless youth.
“A young person doesn’t have to be homeless,” Kemppainen said. “There are many resources and solutions that work. We just have to be patient, accept young people for who they are and walk alongside them.
It costs $ 108 per night to house a homeless youth at PLACE. Kemppainen said his goal is to reach $ 45,000 by the end of the fundraiser.
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