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Adams spends a night on the streets to raise awareness for homelessness

On a cold Australian night in June, Avnet Vice President and General Manager Darren Adams donned a wool cap and braced himself for a night of sleeping on the streets of Sydney. "The sleeping area is a concrete floor 'market' open to the elements on three sides," says Adams, who participated in the ninth annual CEO Sleep-out hosted by St. Vincent de Paul (Vinnies). The aim of the Vinnies CEO Sleep-out is not only to raise funds, but to also raise awareness of homelessness. In total, Adams raised $11,821 through donations from friends and family and fundraising from his Avnet colleagues.

"On arrival, I grabbed a thin sheet of cardboard and staked out my territory," says Adams. "I laid out the cardboard and put the sleeping bag on top. I copied some of the other people and grabbed a second cardboard sheet to create a makeshift windbreak." With only a sleeping bag, pillow and a cardboard box as his protection from the cold, Adams learned first-hand the real-life struggle current and former victims of homelessness encounter.

After the event, Adams remarked, "I now better understand that under the right circumstances anyone can become homeless. Some of the stories we heard firsthand were from well-educated people who had jobs, families and children. But things went bad for them due to injury, divorce or some other normal life circumstance. If we can break their cycle, give them hope by providing a home, [the homeless] can re-establish themselves and get back to being productive members of society."

This year's event raised more than $5.5 million in support of Vinnies' homeless services nationally and Adams has already signed up to participate in 2015. For more information about this event, visit http://www.ceosleepout.org.au/.​​​​​​​

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