Experience a Night In Someone Else’s Shoes

Business owners, Executives and Community Leaders have a rare opportunity to spend the night in one of Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission's shelters to experience the pain and frustration of a segment of the population living without housing. Upon accepting the challenge, you'll spend one night at a homeless shelter, incognito, with your friends and colleagues sponsoring your experience.

Empathy is about standing in someone else's shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes.

- Daniel H. Pink

em·pa·thy – The ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

What is the Empathy Encounter?

The empathy encounter is a real life experience, provided by Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission, for business owners, executives and community leaders to feel, first hand, the pain and frustration of a segment of the population that is currently living without a housing.  The Empathy Encounter allows you the opportunity to spend one night in a homeless shelter, incognito.

What Is Required to Participate?

First, you have to be invited to participate.  Second, you will need to select a night to sleep at the shelter and third, you will need to reach out to your friends and ask them to sponsor you.  The goal is that each participant would raise a minimum of $1,000.  Additionally, each participant will produce a video before the encounter and one after the encounter sharing how their experience impacted them.  Finally, after participating in the Encounter, you would need to challenge 2 of your friends to do the same.

Why Participate in the Empathy Encounter?

Unless you have experienced homelessness, most individuals do not know or understand the challenges and complexities of finding shelter, clothing or a hot meal.  The empathy encounter will allow you to literally walk in the shoes of the marginalized in society.  When the encounter is done, the goal is that genuine empathy, not sympathy, would fill your heart.

Is the Empathy Encounter Safe?

Hope of the Valley has been operating cold weather shelters for the past 5 years.  We have not had any incidents where a client’s health or well-being was threatened.  All empathy encounter participants will wear a wrist band so you are easily identified by staff.  Hope of the Valley staff will keep an eye on you along with our security guard.  Just like all volunteers who serve at the Mission, all participants in the Empathy Encounter will need to sign a release of liability.

What If I Opt Out?

For those who choose not to spend the night at the shelter, we invite you to participate in supporting the mission by donating an equivalent of 1 night’s stay at a 5-Star hotel. The recommended amount is $450.00, but we welcome any support that you are able to offer! Feel free to donate by clicking the button below. On the Make a Gift page, you’ll see a navy blue box where you can fill in the amount. Please type 450 in that navy blue box, and where it says ‘Special Instructions,’ enter the name of the individual who challenged you along with ‘Empathy Encounter.’ Thank you for your support and participation in providing shelter and meals to thousands of homeless citizens throughout Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. We can’t do this without your support!

SUPPORT THE MISSION

The Process

Your Empathy Encounter Step-By-Step

Accept the challenge and select a date.

Create a personal fundraising page and send an email to friends, family, co-workers and colleagues asking for their support/sponsorship.

The day of your empathy encounter, you show up to Hope of the Valley administration offices at 5pm (11134 Sepulveda Blvd. Mission Hills)  Your car will be safe in our parking lot. If necessary, you change your clothes, wearing jeans, t-shirt, sweatshirt etc.

You are given a wristband so staff knows you are part of the empathy encounter. Executive staff will provide you basic orientation and shoot video of you before the encounter where you will share your thoughts about the upcoming experience.

You will be transported and dropped off across the street from the shelter pick-up location in Van Nuys on the corner of Victory and Tyrone.  A transport van will pick you up, along with other homeless guests, and transport you to the cold weather shelter in Pacoima.

In Pacoima, you will line up for entry into the shelter and experience a “pat-down” and search of your possessions to make sure no weapons or illegal substances are entering with you.

You will be assigned your cot and given a blanket, enjoy dinner provided by a volunteer organization or our chef, and converse with people who are genuinely homeless. Lights Out at 10 PM.

Option 1.

  • At mid-night, staff will wake you and Executive Staff will pick you up and take you back to your car in Mission Hills
  • Before leaving Mission Headquarters, we will record your final video where you will share about your experience and challenge two others to participate in the Empathy Encounter. All Empathy Encounter videos will be posted on the Empathy Encounter website.
  • Those being challenged to participate in the Empathy Encounter can:
  1. Ignore the challenge
  2. Honor the challenge but decline by donating an equivalent of one night’s stay at a 5-star hotel to Hope of the Valley ($450.00) or
  3. Accept the challenge.
Select Option 1

Option 2.

  • You will spend the entire night sleeping in the shelter
  • You will wake up with the 100+ shelter guests around 5am and be transported back to the Van Nuys drop off location.
  • Executive Staff will pick you up and take you back to your car in Mission Hills
  • Before leaving Mission Headquarters, we will record your final video where you will share about your experience and challenge two others to participate in the Empathy Encounter.  All Empathy Encounter videos will be posted on the Empathy Encounter website.
  • Those being challenged to participate in the Empathy Encounter can:
  1. Ignore the challenge
  2. Honor the challenge but decline by donating an equivalent of one night’s stay at a 5-star hotel to Hope of the Valley ($450.00) or
  3. Accept the challenge.
Select Option 2

SEE OTHERS' ENCOUNTERS

Kevin Wachs

CEO – Earthly Body

Steven Supowitz

CEO – Individual Foodservice

Josie Loewe

Empathy Encounter Participant

David Zaslav

CEO – Discovery Communications

Click To Watch the Video

Discover Empathy Encounter

Ready to take a walk in someone else’s shoes?