From making decisions to making a difference.
CEOs used to making decisions in the comfort of their boardrooms will soon be sleeping outdoors on a cold Canberra winter’s night to raise awareness of, and funds for, the plight of those living without a roof over their head.
The 2011 Vinnies CEO Sleepout was launched on Wednesday, 13 April, during which several Champions of this year’s event shifted their attention from making decisions for their own companies to providing support for the growing issue of homelessness.
Grace Stephenson, a 23-year-old single mom, spoke of her experience as a homeless person forced to sleep in her car with one of her young sons – in Canberra bush and then near a police station where she felt safer. Grace became a ‘homeless statistic’ when she became the victim of domestic violence. When her partner was arrested and extradited to another state she found herself with huge debt and was evicted for not being able to pay her rent.
Leading supporters who attended the launch, wearing winter beanies and armed with their sleeping bags, included: John Falzon, St. Vincent de Paul Society (National CEO); Andrew Sayers AM, National Museum of Australia; David Pembroke, Contengroup; Mikeal Svensson, Hyatt; Peta Barrett, Raine and Horne Canberra; Sue Hutley, Australian Libraries and Information Association, and Clinton Hutchison, Zoo Advertising. “I had no idea that while I sleep in warmth and comfort every night that families are sleeping out, including with little ones, or that so many people are in such strife,” says Clinton Hutchinson.
Armed only with a cardboard box, a sleeping bag and a mug of warm soup, Canberra’s CEOs will be a world away from their usual comfortable surroundings. Last year Canberra raised more than $354,000. This year, the target is to have 150 CEOs sleeping out to raise $450,000. All money raised will go towards supporting the Vinnies homeless services in the Canberra region.
The event will also challenge perceptions on homelessness. “While spending one night out in the cold can’t give you a full sense of the fear, alienation and desperation felt by those who have nowhere to call home, the Vinnies CEO Sleepout give participants insight into the hardships faced by the country’s homeless,” said National CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society, Dr John Falzon.
Visit: www.ceosleepout.org.au to register or to donate!