Every Sleep Out looks a little different. Use this sample schedule as a starting point, and take time to adapt it to meet your needs. You can find additional activity ideas here and our video library here.
Begin your night by watching this Sleep Out Kick-Off video, which covers what your night could look like and features stories from young people overcoming homelessness at Covenant House. If you want to learn more about what actually happens at Covenant House, add this video to your queue.
Before you head outside, follow the "Your Bed is Not an Option" activity that helps hold you accountable to an uncomfortable night.
When young people come to Covenant House, they have often lost more than just a safe place to sleep. This activity walks you through what a journey to Covenant House might look like, and hopefully helps you better understand where our youth are when they walk through our doors. All you need to participate is a pen and three Post-It notes or scrap pieces of paper. Watch this video or follow these instructions to get started.
(You can do this activity outdoors or indoors)
By now, you probably have a sense of the challenges our youth must overcome. But their challenges do not define them. This video shares stories of resilience from youth and front-line workers at Covenant House. If you're Sleeping Out with others, take time to debrief this video and get in the right headspace before you go to sleep. Find conversation starters here.
Gather your supplies and start to set up your Sleep Out spot. Your checklist includes suggestions on how to prepare. Snap a photo and post on social media to let your friends and family know that your Sleep Out is starting (find sample messages here and social media content here). Don't forget to tag Covenant House and include the hashtag #chsleepout and #sleepoutamerica.
The moment you've been waiting for. Settle into your sleeping bag or wherever you are set up for the night. If you can't fall asleep quite yet, read one of the youth stories or news articles from our reading room, find more self-guided activities, or explore the video library.
Watch this short video message from staff and youth at Covenant House when you wake up.
Before you start your day, take some time to reflect on your Sleep Out experience. How did you sleep? Was it different than you expected? Were you tempted to get back into bed? What were you grateful for that a young person on the street would not have had? (access to a bathroom, a phone charger, a fence on your yard or lock on your door) Share openly and honestly with your friends, family, or teammates about how you're feeling, and consider posting on social media to let your community know how your night was.
Find time to thank your donors. Share a story and photo of your Sleep Out, and let them know how much you appreciate their support. Find sample messages here.