Sleeping under the stars benefits homeless youth

by Logan Roberts

Twelve students from Simpson’s Religious Life Community [RLC] joined the fight against youth homelessness this past weekend at Reggie’s Sleepout in Des Moines.

Reggie’s Sleepout was named after Reggie Kelsey, a young man could not survive on his own and was found dead three months after aging out of the foster care system in Des Moines.

This annual event runs from Saturday afternoon until Sunday morning and participants sleep in cardboard box shelters on the Drake University football field to experience a glimpse into the life of a homeless person.

“Reggie’s Sleepout brought me to the truth of homelessness,” said Lance Kramer, junior and assistant coffee shop manager. “Through the suffering of starvation and lack of shelter throughout the various seasons, I believe my donation and participation helped a small portion of a big problem our communities are facing.”

Since many RLC students were passionate about advocating for this cause, they raised donations to sponsor their team’s attendance.

All proceeds went to Iowa’s Homeless Youth Centers, an organization that works to eliminate homelessness among children, youth and young mothers in Polk County.

After asking for donations from parents and students at Simpson’s Homecoming and seeking donations from outside people, RLC took about $135 to the event.

According to the Reggie’s Sleepout website, their donation was enough to fund one night of safe shelter for 20 youth, all the necessary vital documents for two youth, one meal for nearly 40 youth or the ability for one youth to earn a GED.

“I am passionate about supporting the youth because I believe that every child should have the chance to grow up as everyone else,” Kramer said.

While the event is centered on a serious cause, participants get to have fun while enjoying live performances, a DJ, pizza and hot chocolate, a talent show, card games, a shelter decorating contest and movies.

“I was cold on the surface, but warm at heart knowing my donation went towards supporting youth homelessness,” Kramer said.