Covenant House Sleep Out raises money to help homeless young people

"I'll be right there - Bobby will be six feet away over there - Jeff will be six feet away over there," said Brian Pozzi.

Pozzi and his colleagues with Triple A Michigan has mapped out their spots to sleep in a cardboard box, in a parking lot across from their headquarters in Dearborn Thursday night.

"You're asking someone to sleep outdoors - give up their own bed in the comfort of their own home," he said. "It's not an easy ask, but each year we've had several members of the Triple A team participating in this."

It is the Covenant House Executive Sleepout, raising funds for homeless youth across the country and Canada who are getting their lives back - with the help of their local Covenant House.

"Get them into housing, get them into a job, get them into feeling better for themselves, get them off of addiction," said Gerald Piro. "All of that goes on at Covenant House."

Piro is the executive director of Covenant House Michigan. Usually the campus in Detroit hosts the sleepout - but because of Covid, the Sleep Out is virtual for the second year in a row.

And this year, companies are doing something different - Delta is sleeping out at the airport, Plante Moran employees are sleeping in a conference room, and five employees from Triple-A will be in the parking lot.

"I felt like I missed being with the kids - I missed being with the staff - I missed really walking around the campus and seeing all the great things that they do," Pozzi said.

So they're doing what they can - each participant trying to raise at least $5,000 for Covenant House - which houses more than 65 young people - providing shelter and services to get them educated, get them employed, get them their own homes - but that all takes money - and the need is great.

"It has become even more of a challenge financially," Piro said. "Everybody was receiving Covid money, and that basically has stopped. And now we are really trying hard to meet our bills - and continue to work with our youth.

"So far we've been making it - but I don't know how much further we can go."

This is why they're encouraging everyone to support the Sleep Out - to donate - to do whatever you can to make a difference in the lives of these young people who Brian Pozzi has been helping since his first Sleep Out in 2017.

"I just knew from that point on, that I would be hooked," said Pozzi. "Because to see in their eyes - their improvement, their maturation, their development, how well they're taken care of at the Covenant House - I knew this is something I wanted to support for as long as they're in existence."

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