Sleeping under the Stars – My experience sleeping rough to help end youth homelessness

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Sleeping under the Stars – My experience sleeping rough to help end youth homelessness

Written by Michelle Barrett 

Stepping Stone House are Lotus People’s chosen charity partner, their mission is to change the situation of youth homelessness in Australia. SSH was founded in 1989 and is an award-winning organisation that provides accommodation and personal development to help homeless and at-risk youth become independent and the very best they can be. Lotus People have partnered with Stepping Stone this year to do peer to peer career mentoring and are extremely passionate about the work that they do.

This year Lotus also took part in Stepping Stone’s annual Sleep Under the Stars event held on Friday 1st of November. Their annual Sleep Out involves sleeping rough under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, building your own shelter with cardboard boxes and really experiencing what it is like to spend the night without the comfort and security of having a roof over your head.

I was a bit apprehensive before participating, after all, I had no idea how to engineer a sturdy shelter to withstand the winds.  The main issue with my previous sentence is the use of the letter “I”. This event was a fantastic team building opportunity, the Lotus People & Sustainability teams really came together and built a shelter that we were not only proud of, it actually kept us warm in the cold and stayed standing in the wind!

Once we had built our shelters a couple of judges came around to judge who would win ‘best shelter’. Although this event is hosted every year to raise awareness of youth homelessness, Stepping Stone House does try to make the event as interactive and fun as possible.

Afterwards there were speeches from a variety of speakers including Kyle Sandilands who experienced youth homelessness first hand. One speaker in particular gave a harrowing speech on her own experience of how Stepping Stone House changed her life – there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

If I hadn’t already been passionate about the SSH charity beforehand, I came away feeling completely and utterly awestruck and inspired by the incredible work that they do. The whole experience was topped off by watching the sun rise over the opera house in the morning whilst everyone packed away and recycled their cardboard constructions.

If you have not participated in the Sleep Under the Stars event, I implore you to do so. You don’t have to have a huge group and it’s something that family, friends and kids can get involved in too. It is a fun, informative and impeccably run event and best of all, you get to see firsthand how the money you have raised genuinely changes lives.

You can donate to Stepping Stone House through the Lotus People Everyday Hero page here