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Night of Hope Sleep Out

Article by Claudia Kittock

I have written about YouthLink many times.  The work that goes on every day is life changing for the young people.  I work with a young woman, Jordan, who has been homeless since she was 10.  She has finished 75% of her GED exam and has big plans for the rest of her life. Her story, like so many others, is powerful and happened with the support and assistance from the people who work at YouthLink.  However, it is also important to look at the impact that YouthLink has on our city.  The work done there benefits an entire community, not just the youth who find YouthLink.

In a study conducted by Steven Foldes, Ph.D., an Adjunct Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota, and Andrea Lubov, Ph.D., the annual fiscal and social costs of YouthLink 2011 cohort, per person and as a cohort is shown in the following graph:

Not only is the experience of homelessness devastating on the lives of young people, it costs each and every one of us. 

The Night of Hope Sleep Out is an annual event. Funds from this year’s Sleep Out will support transformational programming that helps young people reconnect with pathways of education and employment - giving them opportunity to live their dreams.

Photos taken by Danae Hudson at last year's Night of Hope

Bring your sleeping bag for a night you’ll remember! Join over 100 other professionals on Sunday, September 24, for an inspirational, one-of-a-kind fundraiser and event - YouthLink’s Night of Hope: Sleep Out.  Here are some questions and answers about this event:

Q: How much do I need to raise?

A:  We ask for a minimum fundraising commitment of $500 per person.  There are plenty of ways to get to your goal and we are happy to help you! A great place to start is with a buy-in from your company to support your efforts.

Q: Do matching gifts count toward my goal?

A: Yes! Click here to see local employers that may match your donation. If you don't see your employer on the list, make sure to check with them. Please let us know if you need our tax information to complete a match.

Q: What if I don't meet my goal?

A: It is our goal to help you meet your goal. Your participation is important to us, so please let us know if you are having trouble meeting your goal, and we can offer some fundraising tips.

Q: What do I need to bring to the sleep out?

A: Everything you need will be provided, including: meals, transportation, new sleeping bags, and other “sleep out” essentials. You may want to bring your toothbrush, toothpaste, and other personal items. There will be a safe place to keep your belongings, and access to restrooms. There will also be hospitality suites available on Monday morning for those who need to head straight to work from the Sleep Out. 

Q: What should I not bring to the sleep out?

A: Participants are welcome to bring toiletries and other personal items, extra clothes, and phones. While there will be a secure area to store belongings and small bags, we encourage you to leave large items (briefcases, laptops, luggage) at home.

Q. Who do I need to contact to get access to one of the hospitality suites?

A: We will contact all participants prior to the Sleep Out regarding the hospitality suites, or you may contact Erika LaDousa, Event Coordinator, at 612-412-8894 or

Q: Will there be security at the sleep out?

A: Yes, we are working closely with the Minneapolis Police Department to ensure a safe event, and there will be security on hand throughout the entire Sleep Out.

Q: What if there is inclement weather?

A: All events will go on as planned (but will be moved indoors) in case of inclement weather. Participants will sleep inside if the weather does not permit us to be outdoors.

Q: Will I have access to wi-fi during the event?

A: Yes, participants will be able to access wi-fi and have access to electrical outlets. In fact, we encourage you to post on social media or tweet about your experience and participation using the hashtag #NOHsleep.

Q: Tell me more about the bus tour.

A: The Sleep Out event will include tours of YouthLink and other local shelters and agencies. Buses will leave from and bring the participants back to the Sleep Out location.

Q: What if I need to arrive later in the evening?

A: You are encouraged to arrive prior to 5:00pm and participate in the various tours. However, if you need to arrive late simply let us know and we will be happy to accommodate you.

Q: Can I bring my children with me to sleep out?

A: For security purposes, we ask that only registered participants attend the event. If you'd like to introduce your children to YouthLink, we'd be happy to schedule a tour at another time.

Q: I have a co-worker who is interested in participating. Am I able to invite him/her to participate?

A: Yes, we encourage you to recruit others to participate (see our suggested participant list, above). Please direct interested individuals to Frances Roen, Director of Development, at 612-252-1283 or

Q: My company is interested in sponsoring or partnering with YouthLink for the sleep out. Who should we contact?

A: Sponsorships and partnerships are still available. Please contact Frances Roen, Director of Development, at 612-252-1283 or

Q: Will meals be provided?

A: Yes, dinner and snacks will be provided throughout the evening and throughout the Sleep Out. 

Q: What should I wear?

A: Comfortable and weather appropriate dress encouraged. Please consider layers if the weather is chilly. We will have cold weather supplies (extra socks, gloves) on-hand if you forget yours.

Q. Where should I park? Will my car be safe?

A: There will be complimentary street parking. We are working closely with the Minneapolis Police Department to ensure a safe event, and there will be security on hand throughout the entire Sleep Out.

Q. Will we be able to meet any YouthLink participants?

A: Yes, YouthLink clients and staff will be participating in the event.

Q. What time can we expect to be done in the morning?

A: The sleep out will conclude with a closing and “grab and go” breakfast at 6am on Monday morning.

Q. Will there be press/photographers on hand?

A: Yes, there will be press and photographers on hand. Participants will be asked to sign a release where they can opt out of photographs and filming.

Q: Can I take photos at the event?

A: Yes, but we ask that you do not take photos during the tours at shelters and other agencies. The majority of YouthLink clients participating in the event have given permission to be photographed, but please ask everyone (staff, youth, or fellow sleepers) for their permission before snapping a photo. YouthLink will be posting photos throughout the evening with permission and we encourage you to retweet and repost these on social media.

Registration can be done online. Please join the Friends of the Mill District at this important event for the youth of YouthLink and for our community.

Claudia can be reached at

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