Celebs Sleep Outside For Homeless Fundraiser


Covenant House fundraiser
(Left to right) Brian Burke, Arlene Dickinson and Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair spent a cold night outside for Covenant House.

Celebrities can usually afford a nice home, a comfy bed and tasty food.

But last Thursday, Arlene Dickinson and Brian Burke slept outside on the ground in only sleeping bags. That night, the temperature dropped to 0-degrees C.

Dickinson is one of the “dragons” from TV’s Dragon’s Den, a show in which wealthy businesspeople invest in new businesses. Burke is the General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team. Both of them have plenty of money and can afford nice accommodations.

They were “sleeping rough” to help raise money for Covenant House, which provides shelter and services to homeless kids in Toronto and other big Canadian cities.

During the long cold night, Dickinson couldn’t stay warm and eventually gave up on sleep. She tweeted, “I think staying awake is a good option at this point. Sore from concrete after just a few hours. Imagine how kids feel after weeks on street?”

She also complained that around 2:30 a.m. “listening to Brian Burke and the Chief of Police snore isn’t helping matters… chuckle.”

There are about 10,000 homeless kids who have to live on the street at some time during the year in Toronto, according to a media release from Covenant House. The organization helps about 3,500 homeless kids every year.

The “sleep out” brought business leaders, celebrities and politicians into the street for one night. The fundraising event took place in Toronto, Vancouver and 10 other Covenant House locations in Canada and the U.S.

The goal was to raise money and awareness of the plight of homeless kids.

The Toronto event raised more than $530,000 for Covenant House, more than twice the amount they’d hoped to raise. Across North America, more than $2.5-million was raised.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
What do you know about homeless youth? Why do you think they live on the street or in shelters? Why do you think there are so many homeless kids in Toronto and other cities around the world?

Reading Prompt: Extend Understanding
The celebrities featured in the article chose to use their status to raise awareness about homeless kids and Covenant House. Not only did they raise awareness, they also raised a lot of money to help these kids!

What is a cause that you believe in? What do you do, or what could you do, to raise awareness and support for this cause?

Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge and experience, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Grammar Feature: Tweeting
Twitter is a social media site that allows people to send and receive short messages and information. When you “tweet”, you can only write a maximum of 140 characters.

In order to fit what they want to say into fewer than 140 characters, people often change their grammar, punctuation and word choice in their tweets.

Create your own tweet telling your classmates about this story. What could you say in less than 140 characters?