Last Sunday night was marked by more than the supermoon for me, although I did end up with a pretty good view for a pretty special reason. Joined by U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and other dignitaries, I was part of a team of 3Mers who spent a night out in the open as part of YouthLink’s Executive Sleep Out.
In addition to our executive sleep out team of Michele Whyle, Maureen Tholen and myself, there were several 3Mers helping out with the arrangements for the evening. A big shout out to Linda Eichinger, Doreen Purpur, Alyssa Johnson, Julia Wittrock, Deirdre MacBean and Brad Dieringer.
Our goal was to raise awareness of youth homelessness in the Twin Cities and to gain a better understanding of what these kids go through night after night. The 3M team raised close to $5,000 to help fight youth homelessness and support YouthLink.
The evening also allowed us to talk with some of the young people who have experienced homelessness in their lives and who now, with the support of YouthLink, are well on their way to education and independence. Among the activities featured on Sunday was a visit to Nicollet Square, an apartment-style housing unit that features 45 efficiency apartments made for young people living on their own for the first time. They mimic a dorm lifestyle and help bring back some pride and self-sufficiency in these youth.
For me, it was an evening of hope and inspiration. It was also a powerful reminder of our responsibility as a community to look after our young people.