The CEO Sleepout 2020
This year, due to the Coronavirus, St Vincent de Paul hosted a virtual version of their Annual CEO Sleepout event. This event encourages CEOs and business leaders from around Australia to sleep out in tents, or in their car, to raise money to support homeless and near homeless Australians. It is a wonderful cause, so I was very excited to be able to take part.
As I type this I’m sitting in my car, taking part in this very event.
Events like this are designed so that privileged people, like myself, get a taste of what a different walk of life is like. You are meant to realise how good you have it in life, and how you need to use what you have to help others.
It took me no more than 10 minutes in my car to realise just how good I have it. Twice!
Firstly, one minute after I got into my car, it absolutely poured with rain. It was bucketing down. And my first thought was “I’m so glad I chose to sleep in my car and not in a tent.” As soon as that thought was formed in my head, I realised I missed the point. I’m so lucky that I CAN choose to sleep in my car. A lot of Australians don’t have that choice.
So, one minute down and I’d had my first epiphany.
A couple of minutes later, I pulled out my phone and tried to connect to the CEO Sleepout Livestream. It didn’t work. My internet connection wasn’t strong enough.
The spot I’d picked for the car was good from a light and noise perspective, being away from the street lights and noisy air conditioning systems. But it was poor for an internet connection.
So I moved my car. The spot I’m in now is bright and noisy. But at least I’ve been able to post a few photos online and raise a few more dollars for Vinnies.
But then it struck me again – what a luxury to be able choose between comfort and amenities. There are a lot of people sleeping rough that have to sleep in well-lit areas for safety. They don’t get internet access or phones. They are lucky if they even have a toilet to use at night.
I’ve got choices to make. Sometimes choices feel like a burden, but they aren’t. They are a privilege.
I’m so lucky to have choices to make. I’ve learnt that twice already tonight! And I bet I’ll learn it a few more time before the sun comes up tomorrow.
The 2020 CEO Sleepout was held on June 18. Visit the Vinnies CEO Sleepout website to learn more about the work they do to help our fellow Australians experiencing homelessness, and how the money raised each year through this event is used to help break the cycle of homelessness.