May 17, 2019

Build a bed and change a life

Luke Mickelson is on a mission to ensure that no child ever has to sleep on the floor.

Luke Mickelson founded Sleep in Heavenly Peace in 2012. Since then, the organization has helped over 12,000 children receive their very own bed.

I may be a little biased here, but my organization, Sleep in Heavenly Peace, is unique and special in so many ways. Our mission is to ensure that “no kid sleeps on the floor in our town.” We simply want to make that the same for everyone’s town.

When I built and delivered that first bunk bed, I had no idea just how large and unresolved a need child bedlessness is. I quickly discovered that it was everywhere, not just in poverty-stricken towns or countries, but in my own neighborhood. It was a need that only a small number of people even knew about or were able to do anything about. After my first delivery, I committed that no kid was going to sleep on the floor in my town.

I also discovered a second need: People in the community were desperate to give back and help others, they just didn’t know exactly how to. With all the doom and gloom that we hear about in the news, I saw a need to help each community member wanting to make a change.

Sleep in Heavenly Peace was created partly because others were just as interested and passionate about getting children off the floor and into beds as I was. My family and I, along with another couple from Boise, Jordan and Heather Allen, decided that we wanted to make this happen for more than just our community. It wasn’t long before we had multiple people in multiple states asking about the process to become a chapter of SHP and help kids in their community.

SHP is special because our mission statement is not just for us as an organization; it’s also for the volunteer. It is their town and we are giving the good people in those communities a way to help themselves and fellow citizens. We have organized the charity in a way that empowers chapter presidents to fundraise, build, and deliver beds themselves. We also make it possible that the funds they raise to stay within their own communities. This is an important and special feature of SHP, and certainly not an easy one to manage. We feel a donor needs to know that each dollar donated to their community stays in their community. Unity in community is not something we take lightly.

Our beds are built by the community members, not SHP staff. This helps them feel the joy of service and provide them a way to give back to their own.

We are simply humans helping humans, specifically little humans who really need our help.

SHP is not affiliated with any religion, political party, or group. We are simply humans helping humans, specifically little humans who really need our help. If you want to find true joy, stop looking at yourself and help someone else. By forgetting yourself, you also forget the meaningless problems that haunt you. The rush of service and empathy created from helping someone in need is something not easily forgotten.

With over 150 chapters in 42 states and growing internationally, we feel it is our responsibility, our passion, and our mission to see that no kid sleeps on the floor in our world. So if you ask, “what makes SHP so special?” Well, to me and the other SHP staff members, chapter presidents, volunteers, and the children we serve, it’s because we provide everyone a chance to connect in a very special way.

Luke Mickelson

Luke Mickelson grew up a hardworking farm kid in the small town of Kimberly, Idaho, and played competitive sports his whole life. The foundation that he was raised on created his desire to be involved in the community.

In 2012, with the support of his amazing wife and family, he started the nonprofit Sleep In Heavenly Peace. Luke used the skills he has developed to successfully train over 170 chapter presidents on how to manage SHP in their communities, giving each chapter the ability to operate independently on their donations alone.

SHP, which was featured on Returning the Favor with Mike Rowe in early 2018, has since grown into a 150-plus chapters, spanning 41 states, including Canada. It has helped over 12,000 children receive their very own bed. Luke has also been featured in national news stories for his charity work and dedication to serving his community. His humans helping humans philosophy has earned him a spot as a CNN Hero Top 10 candidate, an NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt special, and interviews on the NBC’s Today show and People magazine. Whether it be through SHP or his full time sales job, Luke has a passion for service and he continues to inspire others by sharing what he believes in.