Another successful Reggie’s Sleepout event has concluded for our World Link students placed in Central Iowa. Even though this year’s event and the deadline for fundraising were moved up by one month, our students still managed to raise nearly $13,000 to help support homeless youth in Iowa! That’s incredible!
If you are unfamiliar with this annual event, Reggie’s Sleepout was created in memory of Reggie Kelsey, a young man who aged out of the foster care system in 2001. Within three and a half months, Reggie was found dead in the Des Moines River. Before passing, Reggie was in and out of shelters, constantly worrying about how he would survive on his own, without any resources or support. As a result of his death, YSS led in the effort to develop the Iowa Aftercare Services Network to provide services to those aging out of foster care. This event, happening each year since 2005, is to show their commitment to preventing another tragedy.
Boxed-in for a Cause
On top of raising money and learning more about the cause, the event holds a Nationwide Boxed-In Contest which teams come up with and build a cardboard box structure to sleep in for the night. Last year, Team World Link built a yellow submarine. In the past, they’ve also built a birthday cake and a set of pyramids. For their structure this year, they took on Barbie’s Dreamhouse!
Why Barbie’s Dreamhouse? Here’s what they told the judges, “YSS and the Reggie’s Sleepout event provides dignity back to those who might not have found it elsewhere; similar to Barbie’s World where balance had to be found. Dignity is critical to allow for humans to thrive and we are here representing over 30 different countries to try to continue to convey this message. The message of being “Kenough.”
World Link students were able to raise the nearly $13,000 in many different ways. Students went door-to-door in their neighborhoods. Some went classroom to classroom to ask for donations and teach their American peers about the cause. Plenty of bake sales were held at school football games and farmers’ markets. Our YES student from Liberia, Bruce, overcame his fear of public speaking by presenting about Reggie’s to local community organizations.
Our FLEX students Dulguun from Mongolia and Tudor from Romania spent a whole day preparing a cultural meal for 16 guests! Dulguun reflected, “Fundraising for this cause touched my soul in a profound way. I met so many incredible people who share our passion for making the world a better place.”
Dilan from Turkey enjoyed her first fundraising experience, “Being able to help people in need especially people who are in my age range feels so special and good. I want to continue doing fundraising and volunteering when I go back to Turkey now!”.
Let’s see who the top three fundraisers for Team World Link were this year!
Top World Link Fundraisers
Congratulations to these students who raised more than $1000 EACH for the event:
- Kassim Bamba from Mali
- Daria Spinu from Romania
- Andrija Kovacevic from Montenegro
Congratulations to all World Link students who participated in Reggies Sleepout 2023!
Your efforts have made a huge difference in the lives of homeless youth!