Sleeper Spotlight on Tia Plona – SOCE 2024 Committee Co-Chair

When Tia Plona did her first Sleep Out in 2016, she had little knowledge about the issues of youth homelessness and trafficking. She also didn’t yet have a sense of the wide range of programs and services Covenant House delivers to young people in need.  

Now, as Tia prepares to do her ninth Sleep Out as co-chair of the Sleep Out: Champions Edition Committee, she is excited to share the ways the event has, year after year, given caring, action-oriented individuals a chance to learn and give back. 

“The Sleep Out event is full of eye-opening presentations, interactive workshops and meaningful discussions with Covenant House youth and staff that really helped me learn about the complex lives led by youth experiencing homelessness and trafficking,” Tia said. 

“It’s such a special night because a group of like-minded people come together as a community to learn about a very complex issue and make a tangible impact on the lives of the youth,” she said. 

Many participants return the next year, bringing colleagues and friends along with them so they can share the experience and connect them with the work Covenant House is doing to support youth, she said.  

“Sleeping out is a very humbling experience because it’s an opportunity to reflect on what I’ve learned about the challenges that young people are facing,” she said. “Sleeping outside in the middle of the city is unnerving despite the controlled conditions. I consistently come away feeling motivated to continue showing up for youth who don’t have a safe, reliable place to sleep at night and need a caring network of support.”