21st Anniversary Covenant House Vigil for Homeless Youth To Launch CEO Solidarity Sleepout and Feature Performance by Recording Star Natalie Grant
The 21st Anniversary Covenant House Candlelight Vigil in Times Square, sponsored by Aviva USA life and annuity company, also will feature the first-ever Covenant House CEO Solidarity Sleepout. Following the Nov. 17 vigil in Times Square, more than 40 influential leaders will be sleeping out in the shadow of the Covenant House New York Crisis Shelter in solidarity with homeless youth.
“On Nov. 17 and 18, we are going to transform Times Square and our crisis shelter into centers of hope and solidarity for homeless youth,” said Covenant House President Kevin Ryan. “Natalie Grant will light up Times Square with an inspirational performance. After the vigil, we will march back to our crisis shelter with 300 of our homeless kids and a generous group of CEOs and business leaders will sleep in cardboard boxes outside our crisis shelter.
“These leaders have selflessly decided they want to walk in our kids’ shoes and experience, if only for one night, some of what our kids go through,” said Ryan. “We will sleep out to show our support and to raise awareness that thousands of young people are struggling to survive every night on our streets.”
The vigil in Times Square begins at 6 p.m. and will feature Grant, Gospel Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year for four consecutive years (2006-2009) and the top-selling adult contemporary female solo artist in 2005, 2006 and 2008. Grant is also an outspoken advocate for victims of human trafficking. Abolition International, which Grant created in 2005, has raised a significant amount of funds and awareness to fight the trafficking of women and children for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
“We are honored to have Natalie share her incredible talent with us in Times Square,” said Ryan. “Her songs are inspirational, and she has dedicated her life to raising money and awareness for child victims of trafficking around the world.” The vigil also will feature homeless youth from Covenant House, who will share stories of their journey through homelessness to independence.
Following the vigil, Covenant House will host the CEO Solidarity Sleepout on the concrete near the shelter at 460 West 41st St. with high-ranking executives hoping to improve this corner of the world. Among those planning to sleep out are: Philip Andryc of Berens Capital Management; Brian Cashman of the New York Yankees; Bill Donahoe of Allegiance Retail Services/Foodtown; Gary Dubois of Crum & Forster/Seneca; Dave Eklund of Aeolus Reinsurance; Tom Glocer of Thomson Reuters; Jeff Kaplan of Deerfield Management; Geraldine Laybourne, co-founder of the Oxygen Network and chairman of Alloy Entertainment; Julio Alfonso Portalatin of Chartis Growth Economies; George P. Reeth of Companion Property and Casualty; Adam Silver of the NBA; and Strauss Zelnick of Zelnick Media.
“No one can do this work alone, so we appreciate Aviva USA sponsoring this vigil, which will help thousands of kids in the years to come,” said Ryan. “Our friends at ABC, NASDAQ, Reuters, and Toshiba are donating their screens for the evening in Times Square to shine a light on the problems our kids face. And, of course, the business leaders who are leaving their homes to sleep in solidarity with our kids are showing a commitment and love for our kids that will make a tremendous impact. It is all of us working together that will save more lives and give a voice to the thousands of homeless kids who are alone on the streets.”
Covenant House provides 24/7 crisis care and on-going support for homeless young people in need of a safe haven. Assistance can be found by simply calling the Covenant House NINELINE (1-800-999-9999) or visiting www.nineline.org. More information about Covenant House and resources for homeless youth can be found at www.covenanthouse.org.
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