Valencia College Supports Covenant House

For the fourth year in a row, Valencia College has joined Covenant House in support of its annual executive edition of Sleep Out.

The Sleep Out event is a national movement started by Covenant House to raise money and awareness about homelessness and to help get kids off the streets. Last year, Estevan Baza, operations manager, energy conservation; Leonard Bass, campus dean, learning support; Marjorie Karwowski, professor, mathematics; and Resham Shirsat, director, education for sustainability, spent a night sleeping out in the elements at the Orlando City Soccer Stadium. Through their efforts, contributions from more than 65 Valencia employees raised $9,540, and Valencia College ranked fourth among local organizations and companies who raised funds to support homeless youth. Stacey Johnson, president, East and Winter Park Campuses, and Valencia College Foundation President and CEO Geraldine Gallagher were significant supporters.

Leonard who serves on the Board of Directors for Covenant House Florida stated, “Every year, we see Valencia’s commitment to the youth at Covenant House grow. It is no surprise that an increasing number of Covenant House youth are aspiring to higher education — with Valencia being the preferred choice for most of them. In fact, the four residents who shared their experiences with the ‘Sleepers’ the night of the event were all Valencia students.”

“Valencia’s awareness of this issue in the community and support for the Covenant House demonstrates that Valencia is committed to all elements of sustainability, which inspired me to participate in the Sleep Out,” Estevan added.

Resham concluded, “I was inspired to participate in the Sleep Out because I was shocked at the survey results of how many students are homeless and trying to complete their education in the face of this deep challenge. Poverty and hunger are also part of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, and, therefore, closely tied to my values and role as the director of education for sustainability. We cannot achieve a better quality of life for our community unless we meet people’s basic needs.”

On Monday, March 5, 2018, Phi Theta Kappa Chapters at Valencia campuses will hold their Second Annual Valencia Student Sleep Out. Last year, more than 82 students and staff participated in this event in support of homeless youth in our community. Read the February East and Winter Park Campus Concentrate for event details.

For more information on ways to become involved in supporting homeless youth at Valencia or at Covenant House, please contact Leonard at or 407-299-5000, extension 2745.

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