Returns this fall!

JOIN US ONOctober 29th, 2022

Meet Reggie.

This year marks 20 years since the passing of Reggie Kelsey and his memory lives on at the heart of this event.

Reggie’s Sleepout was created in 2005 in memory of Reggie Kelsey. Reggie was a young man who aged out of the foster care system in 2001, and within three and a half months, was found dead in the Des Moines River.

Reggie had an endearing personality, but suffered from hallucinations and depression. He worried about how he would survive on his own. After being kicked out of his latest foster care placement, Reggie bounced from one shelter to another. Occasionally he camped outside while working with Iowa Homeless Youth Centers’ Street Outreach Program.

As a result of Reggie’s death, Youth & Shelter Services, Inc. (IHYC’s parent organization) led the effort to develop the Iowa Aftercare Services Network to provide services to those aging out of foster care. The program has now been expanded to include a monthly stipend and additional services, and is referred to as the Preparation for Adult Living (PAL) program.

Reggie’s Sleepout is named in honor of Reggie, and our commitment to prevent another tragedy.


Why we sleepout

In the year’s following the first Reggie’s Sleepout, YSS and IHYC has been able to continue to expand their services to help homeless and at-risk youth in Central Iowa. As the world around us continues to change so does the methods and areas of focus we utilize with homeless and at-risk youth.

Mental Health Therapy

We now offer a range of mental health services and continue to put a focus on expanding those offerings. Our mental health therapy team is growing and offering new therapy options. That means we can reach more youth with individual counseling appointments as well as expand on group opportunities like art therapy, game nights and breakout sessions. This year we are starting to Behavioral Health Intervention Services, where we work with youth in a home setting to build practical skills that improve day-to-day life.

Rooftop Gardens

IHYC has also continued to grow the number of workforce development programs and helped hundreds find a reliable income. Next year the Rooftop Gardens project will launch. This program will be the first of it’s kind in the area, giving 12 youth apprentices a year the responsibility to operate the growing, harvesting and packaging of the produce. This will give apprentices valuable experience when entering the workforce as well as a source of income for the youth and the center. Produce will be grown utilizing a combination of hydroponic farms (inside of a year-round functioning greenhouse), raised beds and vertical growing techniques and will be used in our meal programs for our Youth Opportunity Center as create partnerships with retailers and consumers in the community.

Stay tuned for exclusive content for #RSOatHome campers during the week of the event that explores how we help these youth and tell some of their stories.