MANCHESTER, NH – About 50 community members along with employees from Child and Family Services spent Friday night overnight on the cold ground in downtown Manchester. It was the first-ever CFS SleepOut to raise money and awareness to aid New Hampshire’s homeless youth. The group raised more than $132,802, exceeding its goal.
Several prominent business leaders in New Hampshire joined in the initiative, not only as sponsors, but by providing sleepers or teams of sleepers from their companies. Lead corporate supporters included ProCon Incorporated, Bank of America, McLane Law Firm, Bellwether Community Credit Union, Well Sense Health Plan, Eastern Bank, People’s United Bank, and New Hampshire Healthy Families.
Mayor Gatsas also joined in the fellowship part of the evening to say a few words about the impact of Child and Family Services’ work with youth in the city of Manchester. A couple of young clients of CFS also spoke, sharing their experiences of being homeless and of how they are turning their lives around, working toward future goals.
“PROCON is honored to be a major sponsor of Child and Family Services’ Sleep Out 2015,” says Sally Stebbins, owner of PROCON. Homelessness is a major issue in the City of Manchester and negatively impacts so many of our youth. The SleepOut will raise awareness throughout our community and the funds raised through this effort, will be used to combat youth homelessness and provide the services that these young people need and deserve. Working together with Child and Family Services, PROCON is committed to making a positive difference in our community.”
Child and Family Services, a statewide, private, nonprofit organization, serves as a lifeline to over 1,500 runaway, homeless and at-risk youth per year throughout New Hampshire, providing a spectrum of services from survival aid to independent living support. The agency puts “boots on the ground” with its Street Outreach program, which finds youth in places where they are at great risk, and provides survival aid and a way off the street. As well, the agency’s Teen Resource drop-in center offers food, clothing, laundry, showers, and a computer lab. The agency provides further vital services such as educational advocacy, job skill training, mental health counseling, housing support, and substance abuse treatment, in order to change the trajectory of these young people’s lives.
Proceeds from the CFS SleepOut will help the agency in its efforts to prevent youth homelessness, to address the needs of youth who become homeless, and to redirect the lives of New Hampshire’s homeless youth and empower them to become self-sufficient, contributing members of the community. As well, proceeds will subsidize the agency’s development of a new resource center facility this year.
“An event like this raises our collective community consciousness about the plight and realities of homeless youth,” says Borja Alvarez de Toledo, president of Child and Family Services. “It really does prove that it only takes a small group of thoughtful, dedicated citizens to change the world, and it starts by improving the lives of youth right here in our community.”
To learn more about the CFS SleepOut 2015, and to support the agency’s work with homeless, at-risk youth, visit www.cfsnh.org.
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