ePayroll and Aussiepay General Manager Daniel Wyner will aim to raise $5,000 for the cause of homelessness by participating in this year’s Vinnies CEO Sleepout. We sat down with Daniel to talk about why he’s braving the cold on the longest night of the year and how you can help him reach his target.
For some, $505 might seem like a small amount. For others – in particular, a homeless family looking for crisis accommodation – it’s the dollar figure that might just get you off the street.
That’s one reason why ReadyTech’s Daniel Wyner is participating in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout this year. An annual event that asks senior executives from the business sector to sleep out for one night, it aims to ‘break the cycle of homelessness’ experienced by almost 120,000 people across Australia.
As a father of two, Daniel says he can imagine how desperate he would feel if he was ever in a situation where he wasn’t able to provide a home for his kids to be safe, secure – and warm.
“I grew up in Melbourne where it can be bloody cold in winter. I’d hate to be in a situation where I had to put my kids through that experience because I wasn’t able to put a roof over their heads. If there’s anything I can do raise funds and awareness to help support families in need, that’s great.”
To help Daniel raise $5,000 for 10 families in need of crisis accommodation click here
So what will the CEO Sleepout be like and what can we do about homelessness? ReadyTech sat down with Daniel to talk about homelessness, challenging our perspectives and how everyone can help.
CEO Sleepout Q&A: Daniel Wyner, ReadyTech
How did you get involved in the Vinnies CEO sleepout?
The Vinnie’s CEO Sleepout has been around for quite some time now. I’ve been looking at it over the years and thinking that, when I do get to a stage in my career where I could use my position as a point of influence to help beyond my working role, then I’d want to do something like this.
Thankfully, I’ve got that chance now.
So that’s why you decided to get involved this year?
There’s a couple of other reasons. I have two kids myself, so family is really important to me. When I saw one of the statistics from Vinnies that said for every $505 dollars raised via the CEO Sleepout they could fund temporary accommodation for a family, that really hit home. I think it’s important to break the stigma of homelessness and realise that people can be helped through the situation.
The other thing is that, throughout my life, I’ve always learned through doing and experiencing. I’m an experiential person. If I can walk in someone else’s shoes and actually see – it’s only a glimpse, of course – but if I can understand how it actually is, it can change your perception of reality.
Have you ever experienced homelessness up close?
I’ve been very fortunate throughout my life. I’ve never been homeless, or known anyone close to me who has had that experience. As a school kid though I did live for a period of time in Thailand and I saw there just how dire a situation can become when you don’t deal head on with homelessness; it’s a hell of a lot worse in Thailand than it is in Australia, even though in Australia it’s not that good.
That experience has always been in the back of my mind.
What do you think you’ll find challenging about the experience?
I guess one challenge is it’s an all-weather event, so if anything happens you just need to go through it. Part of me thought, ‘What happens if it rains?’. But so what if it rains, you’re really just experiencing it like everyone else on the street that doesn’t have shelter and a home to go to.
There’s also the fact it’s being held on the longest night of the year at White Bay Cruise Terminal in Rozelle, Sydney. We’ll be sleeping on the wharf which is right on the water, so it’s going to be cold.
From that perspective, it’ll be difficult. But from about 6pm to 10pm in the evening, Vinnies will be running programs where we’ll have people talking to us about what Vinnies do and hearing real life stories. Again, hearing those stories and experiencing that I think will really help me to connect to the situation that some homeless people face for much longer than just one night of the year.
What impact would you like to have?
There’s two things. From a fundraising perspective, I’d like to hit a target of $5,000, which would mean that 10 more families are funded for temporary crisis accommodation when they need it.
I’d also like to build awareness. Too often, we all walk past homeless people in the streets, and we don’t think about it, we just walk past them and we don’t think twice about it. My hope is that through participating in the CEO Sleepout I can build a little bit more awareness around the severity of the situation for many people in Australia and that a little bit can really help.
It doesn’t have to be donating. In our office in Parramatta, we’ve been doing fundraising internally for our local soup kitchen, so we’ve had different fundraising events for that. At a group level ReadyTech has been a long-term supporter of both OzHarvest and the CEO Cookoff, and when we have our lunches in Parramatta and we have excess food we also donate that to the same local soup kitchen.
There are plenty of ways we can connect more and help so I want to use this to raise awareness.
How can people help you help the homeless?
The best way to support the cause is to donate to the Vinnies appeal. For everyone that can donate even a little, the funds really go a long way to help break the cycle of homelessness.
But I’m an experiential person, and walking in someone else’s shoes helps me connect to the reality of the situation. So I’d encourage anyone who can’t donate, to do something to help out those in need. Instead of throwing out excess food, look to donate it. If you have furniture or clothing, look to donate that. Or go out and volunteer to support the many organisations that do such great work in supporting what is unfortunately a growing number of homeless people in Australia.
The Vinnies CEO Sleepout is on 6pm Thursday 20 June 2019 to 9am Friday 21 June 2019. To help Daniel Wyner reach his fundraising target of $5,000 please click through to donate now.