COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Next to Sonny Styles’ name on the Ohio State University football roster is one word: safety.

It’s the position he plays every day on the football field, and now, it’s something he hopes to bring to the youth in Columbus.

“I think the thing about kids having to also wonder where they’re going to sleep the next night, I think it’s just horrible to think about,” Sonny said.

Back in January, the Styles family — Lorenzo Sr., Laverna, Lorenzo Jr. and Sonny — all visited the Huckleberry House, a Weinland Park nonprofit that works to shelter, support and guide youth who are navigating challenges including homelessness. Sonny and his brother left the facility completely changed and ready to take action.

“The number of kids that are going through this yearly in Columbus alone is just, it’s crazy to think about, and it kind of hurts my heart a little bit,” Sonny said.

The Huckleberry House provides a variety of services to help young people in crisis. There is the Crisis Shelter, a safe, temporary place for young people between the age of 12 and 17 to stay. There is also a transitional living program for 18- to 24-year-olds that features 113 apartments and helps young people gain the skills for safe, independent living.

“A lot of people don’t realize there are 3,000 young people in Columbus every year who experience homelessness,” said Sonya Thesing, executive director of the Huckleberry House. “We are talking about runaway youth, homeless youth, youth experiencing any kind of crisis that leads them to have a need for somewhere to sleep at night.”

Finally, the Huck House also provides counseling for young people and their families.

“The goal is to get them back to somewhere safe and appropriate to live,” Thesing said. “Last year, 91 percent of the teenagers who came to our shelter were able to do just that.”

This Friday, Sonny and others are hoping to bring awareness to the Huckleberry House’s cause by participating in “Sleep Out! Columbus.” The organization puts up a tent, and participants sleep outside on the plaza at COSI.

“It’s noisy. It’s a lot of people in one place. So, it is – it’s uncomfortable,” Thesing said. “You know, we’re not trying to recreate homelessness. What we’re really trying to do is create an environment so that they’re forced to maybe reflect on some of the challenges facing young people.”

For Sonny, someone who has never slept outside and doesn’t even own a sleeping bag (he’s found one to borrow), he expects the sleep-out to get people “out of their comfort zone” and reflect on the fact that homelessness, for many children in Columbus, is “their reality every day.”

“There’s probably multiple kids that I’ve been in school with that were dealing with that and they come to school every day with a smile on their face,” Sonny said. “We just wanted to utilize our platform to help bring awareness.”

The Styles brothers are raising more than awareness. They are also raising money for the Huckleberry House and its programs.

“Any kind of support is important. Some people feel like a little thing doesn’t matter, but all the little things matter,” Sonny said. “If it’s 10 dollars, whether you donate some toilet paper, some sheets, whatever it is. All those little things matter and mean something.”