Sleep Under the Stars so Kids Can Reach Them.
My name is Ashlie Bunten and last year I served as an Engaged Citizen Corps Member. Through my position, I had the honor of working with Iowa Homeless Youth Centers (IHYC), a non-profit organization that strives to end the cycle of poverty and homeless amongst youth. IHYC believes that through supporting youth and raising awareness, every youth will grow into a self-sufficient adult. One of the main ways IHYC raises awareness is through Reggie’s Sleepout, a fundraiser that takes place every October at our very own Drake Stadium. With the motto, “sleep under the stars so kids can reach them,” the goal of Reggie’s Sleepout is to spread awareness for the hardships that people experiencing homeless might face.
Reggie’s Sleepout was created in 2005 in honor of Reggie Kelsey, a young man who faced an ongoing battle with depression and hallucinations, but despite all of this was known as a kind-hearted spirit. After aging out of the foster care system in 2001, Reggie utilized the services of several homeless shelters, including IHYC. Tragically, Reggie’s body was found in the Des Moines River only a few short months after aging out of the foster care system. In light of this and in order to avoid similar tragedies, IHYC created Reggie’s Sleepout. In short, while the night of Reggie’s Sleepout is jam packed with several fun events, it is important that we never lose sight of its true purpose and namesake.
Participating in Reggie’s is a great way to give back to our community, educate yourself, and meet new people! From a design contest to a homelessness simulation, Reggie’s is guaranteed to be a memorable night- I encourage everyone to either volunteer or sign up as a camper! This year’s event will be October 27 at Drake Stadium. For more information and to register as a camper or volunteer, please visit our website.
Written by Ashlie Bunten.