Every year, more than two million kids in America will experience outright homelessness. These kids will have no bed to call their own and will be forced to sleep in unsafe and unclean conditions. And then there are the tens of millions of children who will be forced to sleep on the floor, or on a pile of dirty laundry if their lucky, simply because they have no bed to call their own.
Luke Mickelson wants to change all of that, his goal is to get kids off the floor by giving them their own bed. He makes it clear to each child that they are the reason by telling them; “This is your bed. This is yours. This is a possession of yours.”
The goal was to get ‘each child to sleep in peace,’ hence the name of the not-for-profit Sleep in Heavenly Peace.
It all started in Twin Falls, Idaho when he and his family discovered that there were children sleeping on the floor; that was the catalyst to build them that first bed. “I had no clue about what the need was. There’s kids next door whose parents are struggling just to put food on the table, clothes on their back, a roof over their head. A bed was just a luxury,” says Mickelson.
Mickelson quit his job so that he could focus on doing what truly motivated him; helping other people, specifically these little people that needed a place to rest their little heads.
“These kids that we serve in our community come to us from all walks of life. They didn’t get into this situation because of their choices. Often, they take their clothes off at night, put their pajamas on, and sleep on top of their clothes. And then they just repeat that cycle every day. We have a lot of situations where single parents are escaping an abusive situation. A lot of homelessness, people trying to get back on their feet. A $300 or $400 bed is just out of the possibility for them.”
In a CNN interview Mickelson exclaimed “That first project, we built 11 bunk beds in my garage,” he said. “The next year, we did 15. Then it doubled every year. In 2017, we built 612 bunk beds.”
Now Sleep in Heavenly Peace is a national phenomenon, with 115 Chapters. 39 States. And Growing, says their website.
The Next Leap Forward
“If you want real joy, stop looking at yourself, and see how you can help someone else,” says Luke Mickelson. “It doesn’t matter what nationality, creed, race, religion, we don’t care – we’re humans helping humans – and these are little humans and they need our help.”
When Luke Mickelson says ‘if you want real joy, stop looking at yourself… help someone else‘; we can all take a page from that motto.
Think about the energy and time we spend thinking about our own wants and needs, our own happiness, our own problems, our next accomplishment. If we took ten percent of that energy and we redirected it towards those who are truly in need – what a difference we could all make in the world.
You can sense the fulfillment in his voice and you can see it in his actions. We should also not lose sight of the fact that his family is right there with him, by his side, and they are making a difference in the lives of countless children.
So what does ‘real joy’ mean to you friends?