FRANKLYWNOW - Candlelight vigil shines a light on the struggles faced by homel

Candlelight vigil shines a light on the struggles faced by homeless youth

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It’s a cold night to be sleeping outside, but that’s exactly what a group of community and business leaders are going to be doing. They’re sleeping outside for one night on Thursday to experience what it’s like for Alaska’s homeless every night.

The “sleep out” is happening at Covenant House, an organization that works to help homeless youth get their lives back on track. The annual event raises funds and awareness for the organization, which changes the lives of youth across the community.

For the first time ever, Gov. Bill Walker and his wife, Donna, are taking part in the sleep out. Organizers hope it gives everyone who takes part an idea of the struggles faced by homeless Alaskans of all ages.

Earlier in the evening, Covenant House held its annual candlelight vigil for homeless youth. Each candle brings light to the lives of teens in need, but this year more light is needed.

“Between last year and this year we’ve seen an increase of 20 percent of the number of kids using the services of Covenant House, it’s unbelievable,” said event co-chair Grace Greene.

Greene is one of the organizers of the sleep out. She took part last year and said the experience taught her just how important it is to support homeless youth.

“I am continually amazed at what Covenant House does for our youth, the opportunities it provides them and the chance for them to change the course of their lives for the better,” Greene said.

Korvel Sutton is one of the teens whose life has been changed by Covenant House. He found housing, stability, a job, and now, he’s planning to go to college.

Sutton said he hopes other struggling teens find their way to a bright future off the streets.

“I just hope they could make it to the covenant house or they could make it to somewhere safer than being outside because it’s just so dangerous outside,” he said.

Dangerous, and dangerously cold, organizers hope by shining a light on the issue, they can inspire others to help be part of the solution.

“Every single person can make a difference, whether it’s through dollars or volunteering, every person can make a difference,” Greene said.

The post Candlelight vigil shines a light on the struggles faced by homeless youth appeared first on KTVA 11.

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