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Ogden group sleeps outside to raise money for homeless youth center

OGDEN-- A group in Ogden braved the cold temps overnight Friday, to sleep outside as if they were homeless.

People laid down cardboard and sleeping bags, aiming to understand first hand what homelessness is like.

They also hoped to help an especially vulnerable population of people experiencing homelessness: Teens.

Everyone layered up and built fires for the annual Utah Sleepout, which raises money for the homeless youth organization Youth Futures.

They braced for a long night in the cold.

"I just want to see how long I can make it," said Josh Grimaud.

Nikole Grove pointed out some sleeping bags and blankets that she brought to sleep on.

"I forgot to bring a pillow," she said. "So, that's going to be fun."

For them, staying outside for a night is a choice. They know the countless teens who call the streets home every night, don't have that luxury.

"If they're out here, that means home is worse than this," Grimaud. "And if that's the case, that's a pretty bad home situation-- trying to get away from your own family. I can't imagine."

Grimaud can't imagine, but he's trying by putting himself in their shoes.

With the motto "freezin' for a reason," the Utah Sleepout raised $1,500 for Youth Futures.

Executive Director Kristen Mitchell said they connect teens experiencing homeless with case managers and resources, help them enroll in school and provide them with food and shelter.

"We go out on the street, and we look for kids," Mitchell said. She said they've found kids sleeping in sheds, abandoned buildings, at parks and in the mountains near trails.

That's why the group on Friday braved a night outside-- so teens on the street don't have to.

 

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