Chester Lions Sleep Out with Covenant House

Newark, NJ.  On Friday, March 22, members of the Chester Lions Club  participated in the Covenant House Sleep Out to support homeless youth.  Lions Chris Sammond, Fred Laforge and Gerd Stabbert joined the Covenant House staff, the youth that they support and nearly one hundred other participants who accepted the challenge to sleep outside for one night at Covenant House.  More than just sleeping outside, the Lions toured the Covenant House facilities and spoke with the staff, current residents and “graduates” about their experiences.  They learned about the unconditional love and support the staff provides for the youth; first-hand stories from homeless young adults like Andy, Michael, Matthew, and Lafisha about how resources like the Dove Learning Center are helping them become independent; and, success stories from others like Queen and Frank about completing their education, finding rewarding employment and establishing their own homes.  After a night of sleeping out in the cold, wind driven streets of Newark, the morning brought time for reflection.  Understanding the difficulties young people face on the streets and the challenges of rising above homelessness, and how to become an advocate for homeless youth.