Teacher's Top Tips for an amazing Wee Sleep Out!
The Wee Sleep Out programme gives the team an incredible opportunity to meet young people who are nothing short of brilliant. We have met thousands of budding social entrepreneurs, future politicians and thought leaders this year, all of whom are under the age of 18. We rarely ever leave a school or youth group without commenting to each other on how compassionate and driven young people seem to be.
We want to take a minute, however, to appreciate one of the driving forces behind the amazing young people, who facilitate their creativity and inspiration, and who work very hard outside of their working day to do so. The supporting adults behind Wee Sleep Outs are sometimes unsung heroes, so we want to tell you about one particular teacher who was behind one of the most successful events last year.
Emma Sturm is an English teacher at James Gillespie’s High School. Last year she almost single-handedly organized a Wee Sleep Out for over 230 young people and teachers. The event raised almost £12,000, and was packed with fun activities including mural making, shelter making, karaoke, homelessness quizzes among many others. Clearly Emma is a fountain of Wee Sleep Out-related knowledge, so we tapped her brain so that you can be inspired too!
Emma, what inspired you to get involved with Wee Sleep Out?
“Alice’s amazing presentation at the school struck a chord with me, but more than that, was the student’s reaction to it. It was a reaction of hope and empowerment, and I was keen to materialise those feelings into action.”
What was your favourite part of the whole project?
“Again, it was seeing the enthusiasm of the young people. I was blown away with their maturity and ability to kick it into gear and help. It was like having a bunch of tiny colleagues, and it was so inspiring.”
What are your 3 top tips for people holding Wee Sleep Outs?
1. “Make sure its organised well. Don’t leave space for things to go awry on the evening.”
2. “Come up with plenty of creative ways to fundraise: from bake sales, to grocery bagging, to local businesses. Hustle. It’s worth it”
3. “Ensure that the reason for the sleep out is not lost. Although they can serve to be a fun sleepover – it’s a much more meaningful idea than a simple slumber party. If you’re planning activities, make sure that some are homelessness focused. Whether it is educating the kids on homelessness, or finding a way that they can contribute to the homeless even ore – writing Christmas cards or having a food drive. Get creative.”
What was the fundraising tool that had the biggest impact?
“We promoted it. A LOT. We shared our Virgin Money Giving link which was an easy to donate and found creative ways to spread the word. Think sponsored football tournaments, posters, emails to parents and social media.”