Posted on June 2014 By Nick Speller
Last night, in that icy wind, I slept on the hard concrete floor of Etihad Stadium with over 100 other CEOs in Victoria. It wasn’t so much the cold that bothered me, but more so just how hard and uncomfortable a few pieces of cardboard on concrete really was.
I arrived and set up my sleeping area, which I thought had been ok, until CEO’s who had attended previously pointed out my chosen spot was a wind tunnel! It was great to hear about other people’s experiences at the sleepout, and just how much work these people in top positions actually do for charities and the community.
A basic dinner was served by volunteers who provide meals to the homeless on a weekly basis and it was amazing to hear their first-hand stories. This was followed by a presentation arranged by Vinnies – 3 very different people who have recently experienced homelessness. I guess the thing that really stood out to me was how these people had lives just like anyone and then all of a sudden, they were just one paycheck away from being homeless. Their stories were emotional and confronting and you realise that homelessness really can touch anyone.
After having some breakfast and packing up pre 6am, this part of the sleepout struck me as the most difficult. After a night of homelessness, once you pack up your belongings, where do you go? While us group of CEO’s all rushed off to our homes or straight to the office to shower and start our day, it was a real reminder that homelessness isn’t just sleeping out in the cold each night, its about not belonging anywhere.
I want to personally thank each and every person who sponsored me for the sleepout. I found the experience a humbling one and will definitely be signing up to attend again next year. Vinnie’s will continue to accept donations until the end of August should you wish to make a contribution you can do so here.