Nancy Ma Sleeps Out in Support of Homeless Youth

“After work, there was a bed. There was a bed waiting for me.”

“22 elementary schools. 12 foster homes. I came to Covenant House when I was 16.”

“I never grew up with emotional support so when he hugged me, I broke down.”

These are some of the testimonials from alumni of The Covenant House. Covenant House is a youth homeless shelter with campuses all across America. The complex in Hollywood is the biggest youth homeless shelter in L.A. County. It has 150 beds. There are 6000 young people who sleep on the streets every night in this county. 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ. 3% of beds at shelters are designated for young people. We are failing our future if these remain the statistics.

Covenant House hosts Sleep Outs throughout the year for participants to sleep outside in solidarity with the youth they serve, and to raise funds to support their services. What some people experience for years we were asked to participate in for one night. A piece of cardboard. A sleeping bag. The pavement. It was cold, wet and uncomfortable. There was a helicopter that hovered over me for a while. My body ached. Thing is, I still went to bed with a full belly, slept out with almost one hundred people, and came home to shower.

This isn’t the case for those on the streets. Food isn’t guaranteed. A safe place isn’t guaranteed. A bathroom in the morning to disguise homelessness because you have to go to a job interview isn’t guaranteed.

No one, especially a young person, should have to fight for space to live and exist.

There are many things vying for our attention because there are many injustices staring us in the face. Gun control, black lives matter, LGBTQ rights, immigration, women’s rights, homelessness – when will this list be short or non-existent?

Devote yourself to the thing that breaks your heart. Devote your time and money.

Thank you to all the BGB members who did that for me with this drive. Forever family.

Risk committing your schedule and energy to serving the community right around us, even if it’s during “audition hours”. The time you give will be given back to you.

We are artists. Artists are hungry to know and express the full human experience. There are voices in that human experience that don’t have a platform, that we can choose to ignore in lieu of comfort. Make your mission to include those voices. That’s our gift and responsibility.

xx Nancy

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