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Reggie’s Sleepout is Sept. 24-Oct. 3

Choose a night. Sleep outside. Support homeless youth.

Iowa Homeless Youth Centers (IHYC), a YSS organization, invites the community to participate in Reggie’s Sleepout: At Home on Sept. 24-Oct. 3. The event raises funds and awareness for youth homelessness in the state of Iowa.

This year marks 20 years since the passing of Reggie Kelsey, who was found dead in the Des Moines River just months after he aged out of the foster care system. Reggie was suffering from depression and experienced homelessness, often sleeping outside or bouncing from one shelter to another.

As a result of Reggie’s death, YSS led the effort to develop the Iowa Aftercare Services Network—now called the Preparation for Adult Living (PAL) program—to provide services to those aging out of foster care. Reggie’s Sleepout was established in 2005 to honor Reggie’s memory, raise awareness for homeless youth in Central Iowa, and help prevent future such tragedies.

From Sept. 24 to Oct. 3, participants may choose one or more nights to sleep out in their yard, living room floor, church basement or other space. Each day, IHYC will provide educational content, videos and additional activities for families, students and groups to get involved.

Due to COVID-19, Reggie’s Sleepout: At Home will be a virtual event, allowing people of all ages to make positive change from their own backyards. All proceeds will provide programming and supportive services for over 650 homeless and at-risk youth across the state.

“The youth we serve have been dealt a bad hand in life at no fault of their own,” said Toby O’Berry, director of IHYC. “Reggie’s Sleepout is a great opportunity to get involved and raise funds that directly benefit those who need help getting back on their feet—and you can do it from home.”

To register, visit reggiessleepout.org. The registration fee is $25, which includes a camper starter kit, foldable water bottle, tote bag, access to exclusive materials and more. Participants may register as an individual or a family, then create or join a team to raise more money for the cause. To offer support without sleeping outside, visit the website and donate to a registered individual or team.

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