What lengths would you go to show kindness to those in need? The CNN Hero from Twin Falls, Idaho took the ‘good Samaritan’ role to the next level by quitting his high-paying job so that no child would ever sleep on the floor again. Prepare to be inspired by Luke Mickelson’s incredible selflessness and charitable spirit, and discover why he is one of CNN’s 2018 Heroes.
Luke Mickelson, 41, the 41-year-old founder of Sleep in Heavenly Peace, told CNN how he was inspired to start his project of building and delivering beds for children. It was in 2012 that the selfless hero and his family learned of the shocking reality that local children slept on a pile of their clothes on the floor.
“This little girl had a nest of clothes that resembled a small bird’s nest.” And that’s where she slept, that’s where her bunk was…
She hugged the bunk and wouldn’t let go when we delivered it.” The former high school quarterback, who is now a happy family man, recalled how learning about these circumstances opened his eyes to the harsh realities of life. “It was such a wake-up call for me,” he recalled. “I sat there in silence, wondering, ‘Is that really what’s going on?'” Luke considered what solution he could provide to help with this problem.
“There are kids next door whose parents are only concerned with putting food on the table, clothes on their backs, and a roof over their heads.” A couch was merely a luxury.”Luke felt compelled to help these children who could not afford to sleep in a comfortable bed. Despite his lack of knowledge about the proper due and process, Luke decided to quit his job and begin his Sleep in Heavenly Peace project.
Luke began his new advocacy with a safety guideline, his daughter’s bunk bed as a template, and money from his own pocket. He purchased lumber and supplies and enlisted the assistance of his family and friends in order to construct a couch and a bunk bed for children.”That first project, we built 11 bunk beds in my garage,” Luke said of his first project’s success. “The following year, we did 15.” Then it doubled every year after that. In 2017, we constructed 612 bunk beds.”
The alarming reality that there are still children sleeping on the hard floor reached his and his neighboring community through word of mouth. Other people became concerned about the children’s situation and actively participated in Luke’s endeavor, multiplying the number of bunk beds he has produced. According to its motto, “No kid sleeps on the floor in our town!”
Luke’s nonprofit project and its more than 65 chapters have produced and delivered over 1,500 free bunk beds and couches to children not only in Idaho but across the United States. As the old adage goes, no man can serve two masters at the same time… Luke was forced to make one of the most difficult decisions of his life: he had to choose between his career and his advocacy.
Knowing the significance of his project for children, the CNN hero chose the latter. He decided to leave his job in order to devote his full attention to building beds for children.”I realized…… that the desire I have isn’t financial,” he explained. “The need I have is to check the joy on children’s faces, just knowing that I can make a difference.”
Luke left his 18-year job to devote his heart and attention to his advocacy. Fortunately, there is another company that understands his passion and pays him enough to support him and his family. Here’s an edited version of CNN’s Allie Torgan’s one-on-one interview with Luke Mickelson to learn more about his selfless advocacy: When CNN’s Allie Torgan asked Luke who benefits from his project, he explained that it is the children whose families consider bed to be a luxury.
They are also made up of people who have fled an abusive situation and are attempting to rebuild their lives.”The children we serve in our community come from all walks of life.” They did not get into this situation by making bad decisions. They frequently remove their clothes at night, put on their pajamas, and sleep on top of their clothes. And then they just keep doing it every day.”
According to Luke, the selfless CNN Hero who quit his high-paying job, those interested in applying for a bed can go to shpbeds.org and click on the REQUEST A BED button.Simply fill out the application form and wait for a response from his team. As of today, the team receives an average of 25 applications per day from across the country.
He’d also like everyone to be understanding and patient because they don’t have any paid staff right now. However, rest assured that the team is doing everything possible to meet the high demand for their services.Luke also describes the overwhelming feeling of joy and satisfaction he feels whenever he sees children reacting to their brand-new bunk beds.
“When we provide a bed, that is where the rubber meets the road.” We make certain that they understand… This is your mattress. This is entirely yours. This is your possession.” Luke also mentioned how happy the kids are with their gift. Most of the time, the children would inquire about how they could assist in the construction of their bed, and some would even bring the timber itself.
Luke sees his project as a way to reassure the children that there are people in the world who care about them. And that’s exactly how he wants the kids who get the bunks to feel the day he quit his job. “Giving a child a sense of ownership, a sense of responsibility, and a good night’s sleep is enormous for them.” They learn how to look after things. They learn the value of importance.
They gain confidence — and a good night’s sleep.”As of today, the Sleep in Heavenly Peace project has constructed 1823 beds and delivered 1553 beds to children in need of a good night’s sleep. Not only is the production of beds increasing, but so is the support of volunteers and the community for their cause. No amount of money in the world can truly compare to the satisfying and fulfilling feeling of being able to do what you love while serving others.
Just as Luke demonstrated that money isn’t everything when he quit his previous job, may we also recognize that there are things in this world that are far more valuable than material wealth.