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Nelson's Melissa Deurloo Participates in Fundraiser for Homeless Youth Shelter

Posted On01/17/2017

ContributorTracy Fischer

Last November, Nelson’s own Melissa Deurloo and 47 other Sonoma County professionals volunteered to spend a long night outside in the cold and rain. The fundraising event, called One Cold Night, is dedicated to raising awareness and support for homeless youth. It is organized by Social Advocates for Youth, a group that helps homeless and former foster youth become stable and able to rise to life’s challenges and opportunities.

This year’s event raised more than $170,000 to support SAY’s new Dream Center, the shelter for foster children and homeless youth where the event was held. Outside, participants slept on concrete and cardboard boxes while struggling to keep warm and dry. Inside, 40 formerly homeless youth slept safely – some for the first time in their lives.

Youth homelessness is a growing concern in Sonoma County. According to The Press Democrat, “…an estimated 2,906 people in Sonoma County are homeless on a given night, nearly a quarter of them, or 663, younger than 25.” The event brought significant public attention to the cause, earning coverage in The Press Democrat and on KTVU2.

Reflecting on the experience, Melissa shared:

“To think about going from waking up cold and wet, folding up my tarp that had been home, spending the day cold and wet, and then having to do it all over again really has me speechless in a certain way. I am humbled to realize I don’t think I could do it and hope that I can continue to support our community so that others don’t have to either.”

You can join Melissa in supporting SAY’s efforts to help foster children and homeless youth by donating socks, sleeping bags, gift cards, and more this winter. For information on how and what to donate, please check SAY’s Wish List posted on their website.

A huge thank you to Melissa, SAY, and the other event participants for working to support homeless youth!

One Cold Night