On March 24th, Austin Hagaman will Sleep Out on a street in Newark, New Jersey with just the cloths on his back, a cardboard box, and a light sleeping bag to raise awareness and support for homeless youth in our area. Austin is actively fundraising as the event quickly approaches and is hoping to reach his highest donation yet.
The event, run by the non-profit Covenant House, tasks individuals to be “homeless” for a night to raise critical funds that keep the lights on and doors open to thousands of kids who seek help. Covenant House not only works to meet the immediate needs of homeless youth, but they also offer personal development plans to take them from life on the streets to an independent adulthood, free from the threat of future homelessness.
Austin is one of the very few individuals celebrating his 5th year participating in the Sleep Out. When asked about his experience with the event, he explained, “At the event you get a chance to hear the stories of young people who are working to rebuild their lives. I think that is what touches me the most and why I continue to Sleep Out. Covenant House isn’t just a shelter or foodbank; they are a hand that reaches out with open arms. They let homeless youth know that it is possible to break the poverty cycle and you don’t have to do it alone. … It is too easy to take for granted all the support we receive from our family, teachers, and friends over the years that get us to where we are in life. … This support is often a crucial element missing in the lives of our homeless youth and Covenant House works to fill the void.”
Austin’s involvement with Covenant House goes beyond a once a year commitment. He currently Chairs the organizations Central Jersey Associate Board and acts as a strategic resource for increasing Covenant House’s reach to likeminded professionals throughout New Jersey and New York.