In 2012, he and his family were inspired to build and donate a bunk bed after hearing there used to be local children who slept on the floor.
“This little girl had a nest of clothes, it looked like a little bird’s nest. And that’s what she slept on, that’s what her bunk was, ” Mickelson supposed. “When we delivered the bunk, she hugged it and only couldn’t let go.”
Shocked to discover how widespread this need was in his close-knit community, Mickelson founded Sleep in Heavenly Peace
, a nonprofit that constructs and delivers couches to children in need.
“It was such an eye-opener to me, ” he remembered. “I sat there in silence reasoning, ‘Is that is actually what’s going on? ‘”
Born and raised in Idaho, Mickelson , now 41, was a high school quarterback-turned-family-man. A churchgoer with a thriving job, he coached his kids’ sports crews and fished in the nearby river. But where reference is gratified children who were sleeping on the floor, his idyllic life changed course.
“I had no clue about what the require was, ” Mickelson supposed. “There’s kids next door whose parents are fighting only to put meat on the table, clothes on their back, a roof over their brain. A couch was just a luxury.”
Using safety guidelines and his daughter’s bunk bed as a template, Mickelson started buying lumber and supplies to build beds with his own money. He recruited friends and family members to help around the holidays.
As word spread, concern and participation from his and other communities surged — along with Mickelson’s bunk bed output .
“That first project, we constructed 11 bunk beds in my garage, ” he told. “The next year, we did 15. Then it doubled every year. In 2017, we built 612 bunk beds.”
Mickelson set up a formal benevolence, complete with training courses, building handbooks and neighbourhood sections so communities from coast to coast could join the movement.
With the motto “No kid sleeps on the flooring in our township, ” the nonprofit and its more than 65 chapters have built and delivered more than 1,500 free beds to children across America.
But along with the rapid growth, Mickelson was faced with a tough alternative: advancing his vocation or his nonprofit. He preferred the latter and started from shaping “great money to zero money.” He’s never seemed back.
“I noticed … … that the want I have isn’t financial, ” he mentioned. “The need I have is checking the exuberance on kids’ faces, just knowing that I can make a difference.”
CNN’s Allie Torgan spoke with Mickelson about his study. Below is an edited version of their dialogue .
CNN: Who are your group’s bunk recipients?
Luke Mickelson : 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, set their pajamas on, and sleep on top of their clothes. And then they just reiterating that round every day.
We have a lot of situations where single mothers are escaping an abusive situation. A plenty of foster care situations, where parents or grandparents or brothers and sisters are trying to help. A heap of homelessness, people trying to get back on their feet. A $300 or $400 bed is just out of the possibility for them.
CNN : How do they find you?
Mickelson : For someone looking to apply for a bed, they can go to our website and click on “Request a Bed.” Once that application gets filled out, based on the zip code of the recipient, it goes to the closest chapter chairwoman, then through a vetting process.
Right now, we average over 25 applications a day, nationwide. We don’t have any paid staff right now and we’re developing like a weed. We’re keeping up with that the best we can.
CNN : You cease your work and take no wage from the nonprofit. How do you make ends meet?
Mickelson : I cease my job of 18 years because I wanted to do this full-time, or at the least as much as I perhaps could, because I knew the requirement was big-hearted. It just came to a degree where I could see that my passion really is helping these children. It was satisfying to read my kids and my family be involved with it and help them discover the value of service, but likewise learning everybody else feel and see that exultation from helping kids get off the flooring. It’s contagious.
I was very fortunate to have another company offer me a task. Granted, I took a huge salary slash, but it helps me get by and helps me do what I need to do with Sleep in Heavenly Peace. They’re extremely understanding of what my passion is.
CNN : How do the children react to their brand-new couches?
Mickelson : When we give a bed, that’s where the rubber satisfies the road. We make sure that they understand that, “This is your bed. This is yours. This is a possession of yours, ” you know ?
The underlying tone is, “We’re here for the child.” You walk in and these children are just so excited. They want to help build it. They want to run the drills. They want to bring in timber.
Just rendering a kid a sense of ownership, a sense of being responsible, as well as a good night’s sleep, is enormous for them. They learn how to take care of things. They learn importance. They get confidence — and they get a good night’s sleep.
Want to get involved? Check out the Sleep in Heavenly Peace website and see how to assist .