Last year, Lisa Black participated in Sleep Out for the very first time. Like many rookies, she spent a restless night reflecting on what she learned earlier that evening about the increasingly complex challenges youth experiencing homelessness and trafficking face every day. Meeting some of the young people who stay at Covenant House and the caring staff who provide life changing programs and services gave her perspective on the harsh realities of homelessness, especially for young people.   

“Sleeping out for the first time was an eye-opening experience for me,” recalled Lisa. “Touring the Covenant House building, learning about the programs and speaking with the youth at my table showed me how much Covenant House does for so many young people. They really focus on providing quality care.”    

It was that Sleep Out experience that led Lisa to join the agency’s Next Gen Council, a group of young professionals from across the Greater Toronto Area that provides guidance to Covenant House leadership to help inform the next generation of supporters. 

This year, she’ll be part of the Next Gen Council’s Sleep Out Champions team, a perfect example of how this group comes together to support Covenant House youth. 

Since its launch in 2022, the Next Gen Council has been offering advice to senior leadership on how the agency can attract a new generation of donors, volunteers and community leaders. They offer marketing experience, technical skills and business savvy as well as fresh ideas for how to engage people in their peer group to support Covenant House. 

“We all come from different backgrounds and have a wide variety of expertise to share with Covenant House’s leadership and the youth,” said Next Gen Council chair Olivia Pierratos. “We all bring our own unique lens to the council and aim to bring in a younger generation of Covenant House advocates.” 

Led by actor, director, and producer Michael Seater, Team Next Gen Council aims to raise $25,000 and is looking forward to showing solidarity by sleeping out together.  

Lisa jumped at the chance to join Team Next Gen Council and is excited to take part in Sleep Out this year.  

“I believe that Sleep Out is a unique way of attracting young professionals to a cause that helps so many young people right here in the community,” she added. “By sleeping out as a team, the Next Gen Council can shed more light on the ever-growing issue of youth homelessness and help make positive changes in our backyard.”    

If you are a young professional aged 25-35 who’s passionate about sharing your skills, demonstrating leadership and making a meaningful impact on youth, submit your application to join the Next Gen Council today.