Toronto, Ontario CEO Sleeps on Street for Homeless Kids

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Spending a cold night sleeping on the street proved far harder than Toronto business executive Peter Yien had expected. Peter was among CEOs who participated in the first-ever Covenant House Sleep Out for Street Kids in New York to raise funds and awareness for homeless youth.

When Toronto business executive Peter Yien decided to sleep on the street in New York in support of homeless youth at Covenant House, he expected it would be a tough experience. He found out, ‘it was “beyond my imagination”.

Peter, a partner at Deloitte & Touche and Covenant House Toronto board member, was among more than 30 CEOs who participated in the first-ever Sleep Out for Street Kids on Nov. 17outside the agency’s West 141 Street shelter. The group of business, sports and entertainment leaders, including Yankees G.M. Brian Cashman, got a glimpse into the plight of street kids during the event organized by Covenant House International, headquartered in New York.

“I have a new respect for homeless teens, for their resilience and what they go through,” Peter said after eight hours outside in a sleeping bag on a blustery, cold and noisy night. “I could feel every bone in my body. I was awake most of the time with the noise. The experience was far harder than I ever imagined and it was life-changing for me and I will not forget this.”

Peter raise more than $5,500 for the Toronto charity while the event garnered almost $400,000 in total for Covenant House.

Before bedding down for the night, Peter and the group joined Covenant House’s 21st annual vigil for homeless youth in Time Square and spent time visiting with youth at the agency’s downtown shelter. .

Covenant House Toronto, Canada’s largest shelter for homeless youth, offers services and support to about 4,000 young people annually. It is part of a 21-site network that spans from Alaska to Latin America and is the largest privately funded child care agency in North America.


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