Homeless Executive Sleep-out Covenant HouseIn 12 cities across two countries, nearly 500 business executives, advocates and celebrities slept outside on the streets Thursday night to let homeless kids know they matter.

Near the mouth of the Lincoln Tunnel in freezing temperatures, a band of 150 leaders in New York City spent the first part of the night talking with homeless kids and hurricane victims in the Covenant House New York shelter. Their message to our kids? You are not alone.

The decades-old Covenant House was able to raise more than 11 million dollars in conjunction with events held across North America.

Setting a beautiful example to elected leaders, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay slept out next to the Covenant House Missouri shelter and dozens of public officials, and community and business leaders tried to get some sleep sprawled outside on concrete in New Orleans. The experience demonstrated first hand what it is like to be a homeless kid, if only for a night.

In Toronto, Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke and Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair slept outside the Covenant House there with Dragons’ Den star Arlene Dickinson and the shelter’s executive director.

Other city leaders participated in Houston, Vancouver, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Learn more at www.covenanthouse.org.

(WATCH the “Thank You video” below, from Philadelphia youth)

(Photo: New York Sleep out, 2012)

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