Join us today for the Interview with Luke Mickelson, founder of Sleep in Heavenly Peace...
This is the interview I had with podcast host, and founder of Sleep in Heavenly Peace on a quest to end child bedlessness.
In today’s episode I interview Luke Mickelson. I ask Luke about what got him started on his quest to end child bedlessness. Luke also shares with you about how you can find your own purpose in your life. I also ask Luke about how you can get involved and help.
Join in on the Chat below.
Episode 1342: Interview with Luke Mickelson from Sleep In Heavenly Peace
[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: Thanks for joining us on episode 1,342 of the Inspired Stewardship Podcast.
[00:00:07] Luke Mickelson: I'm Luke Mickelson, and I challenge you to invest in yourself, invest in others, develop your influence and impact the world by using your time, your talent, and your treasures to live out your calling. Have the ability to find a passion and live it out is key.
[00:00:27] And one way to be inspired to do that is to listen to this The Inspired Stewardship Podcast with my friend Scott Maderer.
[00:00:43] Well, we, we got in the car after we were done and were driving home and it was about a 30 minute drive. And you know, me and my friend Jordan, I mean, we didn't say anything to each other. It was just, we were so, I was so overwhelmed and, and he was too. It wasn't until we really got back to to town and I said, you know [00:01:00] what?
[00:01:01] No kid's gonna sleep on the floor in my town if I have anything to do with it. Welcome
[00:01:06] Scott Maderer: and thank you for joining us on the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. If you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent, and your treasures for your true calling.
[00:01:20] In the Inspired Stewardship Podcast, you will learn to invest in yourself, invest in others, and develop your influence so that you. Can impact
[00:01:30] Luke Mickelson: the world.
[00:01:37] Scott Maderer: In today's episode, I interview Luke Mickelson. I asked Luke about what got him started on his quest to end child bed restlessness. Luke also shares with you about how you can find your own purpose in life, and I also asked Luke about how you can get involved and help. I've got a new book coming out.
[00:01:56] Called Inspired Living, assembling the puzzle of your call by [00:02:00] mastering your time, your talent, and your treasures. You can find out more about it and sign up for getting more information firstname.lastname@example.org. Inspired Living. That's inspired stewardship.com Inspired living. Luke Nicholson started sleep in Heavenly Peace in 2012.
[00:02:22] By the end of 2022 s h P has grown into a charity Spading 44 states, with over 300 chapters operating in four different countries. Sleep in Heavenly Peace is a volunteer driven nonprofit dedicated to building and delivering handmade, fully furnished beds to children in need. Shps mission is to tackle childhood bed Listlessness, which we estimate to affect nearly 3% of the population.
[00:02:51] Luke was nominated and selected to be the 2018 CNN Hero in the top 10 for his charity work and dedicated to serving [00:03:00] his community.
[00:03:02] Luke Mickelson: Welcome to the show, Luke. Hey Scott. Thanks
[00:03:06] for having me on. When you talk a little bit we've talked in the intro I share a little bit about your journey and the work that you do on trying to end bed lessness.
[00:03:21] Scott Maderer: But intros never really cover the full story. It's the Instagram version of our story. Sure. So would you unpack a little bit, what, what got you started on such a.
[00:03:33] Luke Mickelson: An interesting area of focus. Sure. First of all, Scott, you know it, it's a pleasure to be on here and I appreciate you having us.
[00:03:42] Having me on sharing the s h p story of, I hope when people listen to it, they just, they get inspired, number one. Number one, we want to share the awareness of how bad childlessness really is and how I came about it, which is just a [00:04:00] small farm kid from Idaho. And how many thousands and thousands of other people have joined up to to help solve this problem But thank you for letting us share this story, cuz I think it absolutely, it really does help hopefully inspire people out there to take action in their own communities.
[00:04:20] And I grew up in a small town in Idaho where everybody knows everybody really and that's been a fun, that's been a fun part of my childhood growing up. But with that, I was always really involved with my community because we were really tight. My, my graduating class was like 70 people and oh wow.
[00:04:42] Okay. Yeah, and we still your hometown
[00:04:44] Scott Maderer: was even smaller than mine. My graduating class was 107 people,
[00:04:48] Luke Mickelson: so we weren't far off not too far off. We had and there was a lot of joy that come from that small town feel we. Especially if you're any sort of athlete, you play all the sports.
[00:04:59] [00:05:00] If you're any sort of leadership, you're in all the leadership, both in school, outta school, scouts church, the whole nine yards. And the beauty of it is because you develop this community, feel you you people meet, not that they don't mean more, you just know him more.
[00:05:16] And, So you're willing help and the good and the bad that comes along with that? Oh, yeah. Oh yeah. All the skeletons and all the laundry, but we don't help, we don't mind helping do laundry once in a while. It's fun that those small towns my mom always grew up.
[00:05:30] I was raised by a single mom and there was five kids of us. The house was a wreck. But I, my mom is the most amazing person. She, I. She pulled us through. I'll tell you what. But from her hard work, I think that's where I developed a lot of my joy of serving. I grass doesn't grow under my feet very much.
[00:05:50] Cuz I, I don't sit idle. And I'm, and I've always been excited about helping people. Like I always coached and of course been involved with my church services [00:06:00] and boy scouts and things of that nature. Anywhere that. I could keep those joys of serving others. And especially with youth too.
[00:06:09] It's just been a big passion of mine and And really, so when this kind of all started, it didn't start with anything grandiose. So in mind it was one of those, one of those, Hey there's a member of our church that or actually, excuse me, the member of the community, they weren't even part of our church that has kids sleeping on the floor.
[00:06:31] And they were the church was helping 'em out with other things like rent and food and such like that. That's how
[00:06:37] Scott Maderer: y'all had learned of the situation
[00:06:38] Luke Mickelson: is through the church reach out, right? Correct. Yep. Yep. And so me being I was what they call a venture leader. But in my church service it was called a young men's president.
[00:06:48] So I was over the youth program for the boys which was really. It was spiritual, but it was mostly activities on Wednesday night, which was Boy [00:07:00] Scouts, and so I r ran all the Boy Scout leaders. But once in a while we'd have these projects where we'd all get together and here it was sitting in a meeting, hearing about kids sleeping on the floor.
[00:07:12] And, I don't know, I just, I guess everybody was helping out where they can. And this just really struck me that the kids sleeping on the floor I'm fostering or mentoring some of these kids. Why don't we, Why don't we take this on these boy scouts, right?
[00:07:29] Scott Maderer: There's kids that need something. I've got free
[00:07:31] Luke Mickelson: labor. That's right. And the it's a form. It's sarcastic, but yeah, it's good form. Oh no, you're right. Later on you realize and since then this is 11 years ago since then, you see just the benefit that these kids that help other kids, sometimes next door neighbors just the joy that they get from that and right.
[00:07:55] So I was really excited to get these boy scouts working on this project. Of [00:08:00] course I've never built a piece of furniture. I don't think I'm a bad. I could think myself out of a box which end of the hammer to, to hit the nail with? Very good.
[00:08:13] But I might not have the hammer on hand, but I always kid her, I had to borrow my wife's tools to get this project but ultimately we had fun probably more truth to that than any of us wanted admit. But there you go. Don't like to admit that in public, but, oh no, the funny thing was, is, the fun thing was, is here I had these boys 12 to 16, 17 years old.
[00:08:37] I. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday night, they're over in my garage. This is the first part of December. So it's cold in Idaho, snow on the ground, and they're in my garage just sweating it up, trying to build these this bunk bed and I had this pattern after a bed that my, my kids had been slipping on for years.
[00:08:53] And so I had it in my mind exactly what I wanted to do and. When these kids, these 12 year old kids, and [00:09:00] I don't know if you ever worked with 12 year old kids on a service
[00:09:02] Scott Maderer: project. I taught middle school for 11 years, so I know what
[00:09:05] Luke Mickelson: Yeah. You know what I'm talking, trying to keep their attention is difficult.
[00:09:10] Scott Maderer: There's a reason the expression herding cats
[00:09:12] Luke Mickelson: come to mind. Oh yeah. And that was the great thing once we got going they were popping everywhere things, Hey, what can I do now? Can I sand this? Can I stay in this can? And it was just super fun to see, and and we built it through that, through, through that week.
[00:09:26] And then here it was Saturday going to deliver it. And I was, I had to clean up my garage. But the boys and their parents and the other leaders took it to the family and delivered it. And the next day at church, they just talked about how amazing it was to see these kids and the family and the joy that they felt.
[00:09:47] And honestly, I felt, I felt a little jealous. I didn't get to see that part of it. I was glad that the boys did. I was glad that they felt like that. And even the parents came up afterward and said, oh my gosh, that was a, that was an amazing [00:10:00] experience. And fast forward a couple of, just a couple of days or maybe a week later, I remember just sitting on the couch and at the time in my life I was going through this.
[00:10:11] I was 35 ish going through this midlife crisis of am I in the job I'm supposed to be in? I enjoyed it. I just am I in I'm in the religion I need to be in, am I in the person I need to be? You just go through these questions. I think we all do. And Here. I just did this great service project.
[00:10:32] I felt this hole that had been inside of me just started to get filled and I loved it. And then, right then my kids are talking about the presents that they want for Christmas like Xboxes that they already have. And little things like this. And just as a parent, I'm sitting here going, I just built the.
[00:10:51] A bed, a bunk bed for two kids that don't even have a bed and you're gonna complain about wait a minute, what's going on here? So right then I just said, [00:11:00] you know what, not just for me and the things that I need in my life and the joy that I felt serving, but I want my kids to fill that too.
[00:11:07] So I jumped up from the couch, went out to the garage and took my kids with me and we had extra wood, right? So we just built another bed. Had no idea what to do with it, by the way. It's we did it, I did it originally for a service project with my kids. And not knowing what to do with it.
[00:11:30] We just posted on Facebook, like one of these buy, sell, trade deals, and just said, Hey we've got a bunk bed that we built for a family who's got a child in need. This is a service project from my family to them and yada. And I was a little leery of doing that cuz I expected that we get all sorts of people asking, Hey I know I want a free bed.
[00:11:53] And I really wanted to give it to a child that, that needed it. And and ultimately [00:12:00] I was really shocked by the fact that there was just as many, if not more posts or comments that, oh my gosh, how can I help? What can I do? Can I bring something? Can I do this? And and I don't know, I just thought, man that's amazing.
[00:12:16] That's crazy. There's that many good people out here. Some people I didn't even know that wanted to help. And and it really struck me the most when I did my f when I took that bed that we just built And I did my first delivery which I call it my Haley story cuz Haley was a six year old girl that had been sleeping in the backseat of her mom's car since since she was born.
[00:12:40] And then couch diving here and there, I'm sure. But when I first met Hay and heard her story rather from a friend of mine, I said this is it. This is who I want to give this bed. She had a sister, but I don't think, I think she was in foster care, but I wanted to give this bunk bed to her.
[00:12:58] And so we [00:13:00] showed up. They just got a house. And you can imagine what this house probably looked like as government assisted and it wasn't super clean and the best part of town, but this little girl, you couldn't have. You couldn't have known that she was just so excited to have us come and I walked in and I'd seen poverty before Scott, but I've never seen it through the eyes of a six year old.
[00:13:26] Or in, in looking at it as, as how does this affect a six year old, especially one that's this excited so happy. And of course she's so happy because guess what? She finally actually has a room a bedroom. And Of course there was no bed in it. I, we walk in the back and you've seen it before.
[00:13:48] There's holes on the carpet and wallpaper ripped. Just, but she had this room and and I felt one thing about the situation that [00:14:00] she was in, but when I walked into the room and I looked in the corner and there was a pile of clothes sitting there, and I knew that was the little nest that she had slept on, I just something clicked in me.
[00:14:13] That that I'd never felt before. It filled that hole in my heart more than I had room for. And my best friend at the time, Jordan, Allen who's now our our executive director here. We could do this together now. We delivered that first bed. And he felt the same way. And the beauty of it too was not just the reaction that Haley had, which was.
[00:14:38] When she realized we were bringing this bed and putting this, these pieces together, which formed a bed. She just erupted. She started hugging and kissing the bed. My gosh, she was I've never seen a child do that. But then I look over to the mom as we started bringing in mattresses and sheets and she says, oh my, you're gonna bring mattresses and sheets.
[00:14:57] And I said, of course. We're right. We gotta have [00:15:00] this child's gonna sleep on a bed tonight. Sorry.
[00:15:07] She lost it. And I still see her face and I still see those tears coming down her cheek because being raised by a single mom I knew the struggles she had internally of trying to provide for her children a safe place to to have her sleep mentally, physically, the whole nine yards there.
[00:15:29] But for her as well, I didn't I, it wasn't until then that I realized this is more than just a good night's sleep for a daughter. This is a good night's sleep for our family. We got in the car after we were done and was driving home and it was about a 30 minute drive. And me and my friend Jordan we didn't say anything to each other.
[00:15:48] It was just, we were I was so overwhelmed and he was too. It wasn't till we really got back to town. And I said, you know what, no kid's gonna sleep on the floor in my [00:16:00] town if I have anything to do with it. And the. Two or three hours. We spent that three nights to, to build that bed was well worth my time.
[00:16:10] And we just decided that's what we're gonna do. Moving forward. And so really that's the concept of s h p, how it started. Now, of course it wasn't called Sleep and Heavy Peace back then, right? It was just a family Christmas project. And I remember my wife at the time said you gotta call it something.
[00:16:26] And I said I got a great, I got a great idea. Let's call it beds for babes. Which is not a very good Google search.
[00:16:32] Scott Maderer: Yeah, probably not. Might Mike conjures the wrong image, I think. Yeah.
[00:16:37] Luke Mickelson: That's a different service project though. No we, It was Christmas time and she said how about sleep in heavenly peace?
[00:16:44] And it was just perfect. Just exactly what we wanted to share. We wanted the kid to be left with a bed that they can sleep in, peace in and and of course who doesn't love Silent Night? It was just a great. Tagline which turned into kind of the [00:17:00] mission at the time of what we wanted to do.
[00:17:02] And now we're proud to say it's our organization's name, and our mission statement is, no kid sleeps on the floor in our town. So we're. That was the creation or the start of sleep and Emily Peace. And when did, when
[00:17:16] Scott Maderer: was the very first service project? What year was that?
[00:17:19] Luke Mickelson: did that first bed. So yeah. So that was December, I think, December 7th, 2012. Okay. Was the day we, we did that first delivery. And
[00:17:27] Scott Maderer: so that's really the birthday, so to speak. Yeah. Of, of this is back there on December. And when you think about all of this First off, building a bed it it's all at one
[00:17:46] It's that seems like a really big thing to do. And it also seems oh yeah, that's not that big of a deal. I think depending on your own personal context in other words, if you've always slept in a bed, [00:18:00] it's a moment of eh, bad.
[00:18:03] But if you've
[00:18:04] Luke Mickelson: actually. Had
[00:18:07] Scott Maderer: a period in your life where that wasn't the reality.
[00:18:10] Luke Mickelson: That's a big deal. Oh oh, what's funny, it's not it's not funny. People don't realize we look at beds as. We don't look at beds as a luxury, let's put it that way. They're just a, they're just a common tool.
[00:18:26] Everyone has a bed. Everybody's got, they got a couch, they got a tv, you got a bed and it's funny, I was on Mike Rose's podcast and he talked about a really interesting point I hadn't thought about, and that's, he said if you don't have a bed, then you don't have a bedroom. You just have a room.
[00:18:41] And it's not bedtime, it's just time to go to sleep cuz you don't have a bed. And it, man, that really struck me cuz he's absolutely right. We deal with these situations childlessness itself is so unknown. Back in 2000, about 13. About 13 or [00:19:00] 14 when we just decided, okay, let's be a nonprofit.
[00:19:02] So we didn't have to finance it ourselves I said, okay, certainly there's other nonprofits are doing this. I've never ran a nonprofit. I don't know what I'm doing, but let me research it. And I only found one in the whole nation that actually did beds for kids. And I was like, that, you gotta be kidding me.
[00:19:19] Because at the time a year or two after we started it we we were posting what we were doing. We were getting more and more interest and more and more applications coming in of really how bad this problem is. And I think Jordan and I. We went from just doing builds at Christmas time in Twin Falls, Idaho, and Boise, Idaho for the first oh, three years to, okay.
[00:19:45] Now we probably need to do this a little more often because the. We're getting two, 300 applications when we were only building 20 or 30 at the most beds at a time. And so we I think it was [00:20:00] 2015, we really opened it up and said, okay, we're gonna build beds as often as we can.
[00:20:04] And we ended up doing like 15, 16 builds that year building 160 beds.
[00:20:10] Scott Maderer: Okay. And my reason for bringing that up is it, because I taught school for 16 years and for a number of those years I taught in a very low socioeconomic area of San Antonio. And sure like 84% of the kids that attended there were on free lunch.
[00:20:31] 88% either lived with a single parent or a non-custodial aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa, that kind of thing. Yeah. It is exactly the kind of place that you're talking about where there were kids in my classroom that. Didn't have a bed.
[00:20:48] Luke Mickelson: Yeah. And
[00:20:50] Scott Maderer: that was not a luxury that they availed themselves or there were three of 'em
[00:20:55] Luke Mickelson: sleeping in same bed one bed or with mom or [00:21:00] dad.
[00:21:00] That's the, or
[00:21:00] Scott Maderer: with mom or dad or the aunt or the uncle or the grandma or the grandpa, or whatever. So
[00:21:05] Luke Mickelson: I, I know I, I know a little bit
[00:21:07] Scott Maderer: to know. It's
[00:21:09] Luke Mickelson: how big of a problem it is.
[00:21:10] Scott Maderer: And you just quote, stumbled across
[00:21:13] Luke Mickelson: it. Oh. So to. Not so to speak. Totally. Yeah. It was one of those things and the weird thing about it is we as a Boy Scout troop or a church troop Yeah.
[00:21:24] We, we did all sorts of service projects we built wheelchair ramps and benches and stuff like that all the time. You did the little old lady's house. Yeah, exactly. Which is great. They were all great mowed lawns and picket fences and all that jazz. But this, there was just something about this to me just struck me just.
[00:21:44] Just and especially when. When you see it yourself, when you see the conditions that a child is sleeping in, and I had six, seven year old and a one-year-old at the time [00:22:00] and a 10 year old. So I knew that there was to see these kids in this condition. I just saw my own kids and I just I wept for them.
[00:22:09] I wept for the parents trying to get by, and here I was in a situation in my life where I could do something about it. By gosh, I was going to and ever since then, it's just been such a passion. That's, that I've had and learning that other people have the exact same passion and everybody's passions differently.
[00:22:31] Some of it's dogs or ocean or trees or whatever. Our passion is building beds for kids. And it's a strong one and one that I never knew I would have. If you asked me 10 years ago that my full-time job and career would be building beds for kids across the country, I would've, I don't know how to build a bed guys.
[00:22:54] Scott Maderer: And probably wouldn't have believed that it was something you could have gotten fulfillment or purpose out of
[00:22:59] Luke Mickelson: either. [00:23:00] Oh yeah. Yeah. You don't number one, I was probably not, probably, I was like everybody else when we talk to people about what we do, especially if they've never heard of us or don't know, or have any awareness of the situation, when we say, Hey, yeah, we build beds for kids.
[00:23:15] I usually get two comments or two reactions. The first one is it, that's, it can't be that bad. Every child's got a bed. No, it is that bad. The only statistic we really have is what Sleep and Heavily Peace has put together over the last 10 years, which isn't very good statistics, by the way, cuz I'm not a statistician, but but it's over 3% of the total population my town the whole Twin Falls, magic Valley area was less than a hundred thousand. So I knew there was at least two to 3000 kids in my fairly wealthy when you considering. Part of the country in my own town. And then the second one was, the reaction was yeah, but not my town.
[00:23:57] I, and that's what I thought. [00:24:00] No way that there's that many kids that are sleeping on the floor, couches, sharing bedrooms that, that big of a need. And it's 100% true. And to To be clear too, it's, it, I mentioned earlier poverty, but it's not even Yeah.
[00:24:16] Scott Maderer: Necessarily quote unquote. Yeah. The people that people would think
[00:24:21] Luke Mickelson: of putting, you know as Yep. Cause
[00:24:23] Scott Maderer: and I will actually give an example. So I work with people sometimes in the financial arena and a lot of the folks I work with are small business owners and that kind of thing. And I.
[00:24:34] Have a couple that I lovingly refer to because I don't wanna use their real names as Kid and Barbie, because they, on the outside, they had everything together, but literally they lived in the nicest house on the block, but never invited anyone over because they had no furniture.
[00:24:50] Luke Mickelson: Oh, 150. All they had was lawn chairs and that was it. So it's not even just
[00:24:56] the people you think of, yeah. I'm glad you brought that up because [00:25:00] people I was the same way. We all thought and that's why the statistics are so hard to come by, right? Because it's so unknown. It's embarrassing for the families, ken and Barbie would
[00:25:11] Scott Maderer: not have admitted
[00:25:12] Luke Mickelson: that their kids had no pet. Exactly. And they don't. And they don't. And realizing, I remember quick story, one of our chapter presidents, he actually had been building beds only for like maybe one year or two years with us. And he was in church. And the pastor at the time finally agreed they were gonna do a big service project and it was gonna be a bed build with sleep in heavenly peace.
[00:25:34] And he got up and talked about it. And there was a lady that stood up at some period in the meeting that they had and said c, can I have a bed for my child? Didn't even know that she didn't have a bed for her child. And this was in their his own church. It just blew him away.
[00:25:50] And that we see that day in and day out. You're right, there's no economical standing demographic that this affects. It is everybody, and it's literally [00:26:00] next door. You've mentioned a couple of times Church and that part of it. How has this. How did your faith affect this? And then how has this work affected your faith journey, if that makes sense?
[00:26:13] What's been the synergy between those? It's a great question. We get asked often is sleep and piece of faith-based organization and we aren't. When I say that, what I mean is we're not centered around any different religion or whatnot. We accept everybody belief or no, no belief.
[00:26:32] But quite often a lot of our chapter presidents, a good percentage of our chapter presidents are very faith-based. People. Sure. And Sleep. And Emily Peace was born out of a church service project, that, that developed into a human helping another human rather than a church helping a human.
[00:26:52] But really the point of sleep and Emily Peace is being inspired to [00:27:00] try to help another human being. That inspiration, wherever it comes from. Whether it comes from a DEI that you believe in or don't believe in or something inside of you that just draws you to helping children with beds is what we're about.
[00:27:20] And that's and as I've even grown with s h P cuz it's grown quite a bit it's such a pleasure. To communicate, to mingle, and to see other people mingle with different religions and different beliefs. I I grew up in Idaho, which is a big Mormon side of the world and I grew up Mormon.
[00:27:46] But now I look at these other amazing people that we deal with and we work with, and I've accepted that, you know what I'm just glad that we can work together [00:28:00] with such great human beings that have such faith and hope in humanity. And then certainly in their efforts to help these children find beds to sleep in.
[00:28:10] So that, that really has grown my faith, if you will, in. In the, a greater good a certainly a greater force of good being used or being executed, let's say, by these wonderful human beings that we live with. This is a way that you found some purpose, like we talked about earlier.
[00:28:35] Scott Maderer: How do you think this relates to the. Let's say the listener out there is hearing this and this idea in particular maybe doesn't yet hit them as that's what I want to do. They, sure, I don't wanna go build beds. But at the same time, they're hearing this and they're like, I know there's things in my community.
[00:28:53] There's need here. There's things that I wish I could do or maybe I could do. What would you say to that listener [00:29:00] about. Finding that route to use some of their giftings
[00:29:05] Luke Mickelson: To serve in their community. A absolutely. I get that question quite a bit actually. And we started a podcast called Humans Helping Humans.
[00:29:15] Because I wanted people a, to to hear the joy that, that chapter presence of ours or other organizations, other charities that are helping just the joy that comes from them. And there was one particular chapter president, actually he's in Dallas who shared a very simple thought, but it answers the question.
[00:29:38] He said, you know what he says, I knew that I just wanted to do something. I didn't know what it was but I know and continued to encourage other, every, everybody out there. Just do something and my gosh that's all I did. I didn't know. I didn't build beds. I didn't, it wasn't a big passion of mine to go build beds, [00:30:00] but because I did something about it that's where I.
[00:30:04] I realized what my passion was. And so I encourage people what whatever your passion is, and you know what, if it's not building beds, that's fine. If it's helping dogs, if it's cleaning up the ocean, if it whatever it is, find that passion. And it doesn't have to be something big.
[00:30:23] I, in fact I did a excuse me, a. Ted Talk in Otto Falls called is about passion and purpose, and I talk about the tiny moments in life that we have and that's what mine was. And we have hundreds of these tiny moments that happen all the time. Sometimes we do something about it.
[00:30:41] Sometimes we really dive in and sometimes we just don't do anything about it. And really th those tiny moments. Aren't about the end result, they're about you actually doing something about it. The result will come, whether it's big or small, it doesn't matter, right? That result come. And if you don't do [00:31:00] anything, you'll never find that passion and I'm a man sitting in this chair talking to Scott right now that we'll promise anybody out there if you go do something and not.
[00:31:11] Sit on the couch. If you get off the couch, what I call like I did, you just never know what that passion, where that passion comes from and what happens. And I'll tell you from personal experience, I had no idea that I was gonna be building beds for life for a living now. And since 2012, we built over 160,000 beds for kids, and that comes from, and came from, A very tiny moment that some farm kid in small town Idaho decided to get off the couch and do something about it. Anybody can. And so 160,000 in 11 years. So that's almost 10,000 beds
[00:31:52] a year. Really quite frankly, we didn't start, s h p as it grew through the years was very slow.[00:32:00]
[00:32:00] Like any other nonprofit we, it was very organic. So that's not a straight line, that's the Oh no. In fact, we we built 20 here, 50 there during the years, but about 2018 is when you kicked down. Oh, what happened was Mike Row, everybody loves Mike Row.
[00:32:17] Dirty Jobs guy, right? Dirty Jobs. Yeah. He had a Facebook watch series called Returning the Favor, and I'd never heard of it before, but they came out and filmed us and did a little, we were season two episode nine on it, and it was seen by 10 million people in the whole country. Actually all over the world and from then we, we went from, we had, we started to get chapters here and there.
[00:32:42] We had about seven or nine fairly active chapters at that time. That's when we went, we had over 4,000, 5,000 plus chapter requests. Obviously not all of them have turned out, but we sit right now with 300 and we're at 350 almost on the nose [00:33:00] of chapter presence that we've trained across the country since 2018.
[00:33:04] And we build, our goal this year is over 50,000, so it's progressively gotten better since 2018 really is when we've built that 160,000. Yeah. And
[00:33:14] Scott Maderer: with that in mind, cuz you just mentioned chapter as a chapter president and all of that, if someone is hearing this, it is I love building things.
[00:33:22] Yeah. And I've got a, would I, boy I'd really love to do this. Tell us a little bit about how would somebody get involved locally where they're
[00:33:32] Luke Mickelson: at. You bet. Absolutely. And first, Scott, I knew a long time ago that this was much bigger than one guy. It's much bigger than one town, one state, or even one country, really.
[00:33:43] So we knew, and I knew, and I always wanted to. Make this available at a community level, cuz that's really where decisions, that's where problems get solved at a community level. So we put together a training program for any person out there that has the, a desire[00:34:00] to build a team and do this in their own.
[00:34:03] In their own area. You can actually go to shp beds.org, which is our website, and there's a tab there called Start a chapter. And really when you click on that, there's some information you can read about that. There's some good videos a lot of marketing materials that we've shared. Our ultimate goal is to have that person go through and list.
[00:34:24] And listen to all the things that are involved, cuz it it's not a little thing. Go into it with their eyes wide open. Yeah. We kinda look at it as almost like a franchise. You don't. We're all under the same one, e i n 5 0 1 C three umbrella. But there has been so many amazing people that have come on as chapter president that now run the executive team that have built a program that is just.
[00:34:53] It's super easy to get started. As long as you're dedicated and have some time each week. [00:35:00] You we have guys that come in funny. We have guys that come in and say guys and gals and say Hey, I, I just wanted to build 10 or 20 beds a year. And I just kinda laugh going, okay yeah, we'll see ya.
[00:35:10] And next thing you know, they're building 3, 4, 500 beds a year. And and super successful. And some of the beauty of it too, we talk about this a little bit on our Humans Helping Humans Podcast is. You build beds for kids, which is awesome. But what I try to tell people too is you don't realize the side benefit of starting your own chapter, which is you'll meet amazing people that'll be a part of your team or just consistently volunteer that otherwise you'd pass 'em in the grocery store and you'd never know 'em and to rub shoulders with on a continuous basis.
[00:35:41] Basis, people that have the same passion as you. Oh my gosh. It just makes life so much better and you really start seeing how beautiful life really is. A lot of our chapter presence, they started a chapter because they wanted their kids to know that. They all live on social media now, which is a [00:36:00] terrible example of what life really is like that there's really good people in the world.
[00:36:05] There's millions and millions of good people. There's actually probably more good people than bad people. And this is a way that you get to rub shoulders and get inspired by people that, that really care about others.
[00:36:14] Scott Maderer: Yeah. I always tell people and again, I was a school teacher for years, and I used to I used to Do science fair. And so I've been to many international events and seeing kids from all over the world, some of the smartest science kids you've ever seen and you're watching these kids, high school kids who've done these projects that quite frankly were more advanced than what I ever did in college.
[00:36:37] Sure. And I have a degree I have a couple of science degrees. Like I I did. Research in a lab I've done that kinda thing and still they're like talking about whatever they did and I'm going, yeah, okay, whatever. You're blowing my mind.
[00:36:53] And then and then I would go somewhere and I'd hear people complaining about kids and how horrible kids were and how lazy kids were, [00:37:00] or this or that. And I'm like, yo, you're just hanging out with the wrong kids, Exactly. It's lemme go introduce you to some of my some of my kids.
[00:37:08] Luke Mickelson: It's kinda
[00:37:08] Scott Maderer: the same thing that you're talking about when you complain about all the bad people in the world. Yeah, maybe you're just hanging out with some of the wrong people. You need to go Yeah. Find a different group to hang
[00:37:16] Luke Mickelson: out with, so to speak. For sure.
[00:37:19] Scott Maderer: So I've got a few questions that I like to ask everybody, but before I go there, is there anything else that you'd like to share with the listener?
[00:37:27] Luke Mickelson: Really the three things I always try to get across is, first of all, raise awareness. Understand out there that childlessness, trust me, I don't be ashamed if you've never seen it or ever heard of it, cuz I hadn't, and not a lot of the nation has, but it is a real thing. And number two, it's something that you can do about it.
[00:37:49] Personally if you, I'm not saying you have to start a chapter, but if it's something that strikes your chord, we have 350 chapters across the country. You can go to our website [00:38:00] you can find a chapter and volunteer work with them on a local basis. That's how this is done. And the last thing is.
[00:38:08] Just keep year out for trying to find these kids. The problem we have too Scott, is not only do you know, no one knows that child business is a problem, but the people that are in the problem don't know how to solve it. And I'm from Twin Falls, Idaho. It's only a 40,000 large city for Idaho.
[00:38:28] 40,000 population. We've been there for 10 plus years. I still have agencies that work with kids that don't know SHP even exists, so really it's word of mouth that we've been able to really grassroots spread and so those are the three things that I just hope people when they listen to this Are either inspired to, to do something or follow those steps and see how you can actually make a difference in a child's life.
[00:38:58] And if
[00:38:59] Scott Maderer: [00:39:00] somebody out there is maybe they are in an organization or a church community or something else that, that works with kids. Is is that website, the S H P beds, is that still the best way for them to find information and get in touch with the
[00:39:15] Luke Mickelson: local chapter for absolutely.
[00:39:17] For the opposite thing though
[00:39:19] Scott Maderer: I need to send some people to
[00:39:20] Luke Mickelson: you as a what's funny is Mo most of our chapters, we train them, each chapter present, they're anonymous not anonymous autonomous. They can they can go with and pick any child that, that is on their list.
[00:39:34] And I should say, I, if you know someone, You can go to our website, shb beds.org again, and you can apply for a bed either for your own child, for your sister's child across the street, a friend or three states over, right? Once you fill out the information for the child, it's based on zip code.
[00:39:54] If we have a chapter president that's accepted that zip code, then that chapter present will get that [00:40:00] application. Okay? And where I was going with that is, Those chapter presence, they look at, it's not first come, first serve, it's really by the desire and the need that's needed. And most of the time when it's an agency that the people are working with they've vetted those families very well, better than we can, cuz we're all volunteers.
[00:40:16] And so they'll usually work with a service provider in their own areas first so it's that's a good, that's a good shout out to those people that are listening now that CH Sleep and Emily Peace is the largest bed building charity in the world. And that's not a bragging thing.
[00:40:35] That's actually a sad thing. There's only few of 'em. That's why we've just been able to spread that mission out and find those people that wanna start in their local areas. So we, we do have a big reach. There's very few pl places I shouldn't say very few.
[00:40:50] There's still a lot of places in the country we're not in, but there's a lot of places we are. And again, your stats,
[00:40:58] Scott Maderer: you think there it's at least [00:41:00] 3%. Yeah. And again there's 300 million people just in the US Yeah. We estimate do a quick math and that's, yeah. Yeah. We estimate over 10 million kids and when you're only building 50,000 beds a year it doesn't take long to realize that.
[00:41:20] Luke Mickelson: It's a big problem, right? And the more help and the more chapters we can start and support the quicker we're gonna be able to cut into those numbers and really the more awareness we can raise too. There's, it's interesting, those nonprofits out there that are listened to this, they understand grant writing and trying to find grants.
[00:41:40] When there's a problem that no one's ever heard about. It's really difficult to try to get grants to support that because there's no grants out there that's specifically for beds, especially fed federal grants so it's been a challenge. But we're, but it's
[00:41:54] Scott Maderer: somewhat of an invisible problem.
[00:41:56] So like you said, you, not only do you have to. Get the grant, you almost [00:42:00] have to convince them that it's a real problem that needs solving. Oh yeah. It's cuz it's such an invisible problem in so
[00:42:06] Luke Mickelson: many ways. We've had a lot, we've had a lot of funders that said no to us the first couple of years until we had a chapter in that area.
[00:42:14] Someone that was on the, either on the board or someone knew, someone saw what we did. And I don't blame 'em r really well, there's a ton of things that need. Oh yeah. Neat. Yeah. And it it's funny I don't know, it was like the second year I was doing a build in Boise with the Boise d o t department, and they're like, sure, you can come up and use our facility and blah, blah, blah.
[00:42:39] And I remember we went up and set up our, and the way we set up, we build these beds. It's like an assembly line. It's we take wood, raw wood part what happens there and then it moves along and Exactly. We take raw wood and in 30. In three hours, that raw wood is now 30 beds.
[00:42:55] So I remember this guy walked in right in the middle of the build. [00:43:00] It's got Bermuda shorts on and a t-shirt, and you kinda, he's like looking around all amazed and confused. And I finally went up to him and I said, Hey, can I help you? And he says, yeah I can't remember his name, but he's yeah I'm the guy you've been talking to.
[00:43:14] And I said, oh yeah, welcome. And he's I have to apologize. He says I thought you guys were just nails and hammers and boards out here. He says, I didn't realize how. Of a well-oiled machine. This is and how many volunteers? We had 60, 80, right? These college students there building beds, some of them that had never touched a tool or really built anything in their life.
[00:43:38] And here they are building 60 beds for kids. And I think that's what happens is some of these funders they until you see a video or been there it's hard to wrap your mind around. Yeah, it I'm part, I sat on a nonprofit board and then of course in my church we also do a lot of food ministry cuz we are in a food desert out here and it's a [00:44:00] church of a hundred and 130 members and we feed a thousand people a month.
[00:44:05] Scott Maderer: Wow. And it's wait, what? But it's yeah. That's
[00:44:10] And then by the same token I said on a nonprofit board, and it's the same thing is we help neurodivergent. Especially youth and young adults and help them fit into the community and do different work and that kind of thing around cool farming and again, the food thing out, just cuz out here where
[00:44:31] Luke Mickelson: we live, but.
[00:44:33] The, it's the same sort of thing
[00:44:35] Scott Maderer: Any nonprofit, no matter what it does, any ministry, no matter what it does going to people that fund and explaining the real need and the real impact is always and again, food at least is like people get. People are hungry that's a little easier.
[00:44:54] Yeah. We always lessness
[00:44:55] Luke Mickelson: You gotta also convince 'em that's a problem. Yeah. We always say there's the top [00:45:00] three, right? Shelter, clothing, and food. Those are the top three. Those are easy to come by, but yeah, beds for kids it's pretty unknown. What are the questions that I like to ask everybody?
[00:45:10] Scott Maderer: My, my brand is inspired stewardship and I run through the, that lens of stewardship. In the coaching and the work that I do, and yet that's one of those words that I've discovered means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. So when you hear the word stewardship, what does that mean to you and what does the impact of that, that
[00:45:27] Luke Mickelson: meaning had on you?
[00:45:29] Oh, stewardship to me is leadership. Stewardship is when you're giving a stewardship, like my kids, I have stewardship over my kids. I'm responsible for them. And we use the word stewardship in this lens, really in s h p is our community needs to be the stewards of their, of themselves, and in this case, the stewards of the kids that are sleeping on the floor in their communities.
[00:45:56] I was a CNN Hero back in 2018 [00:46:00] and the cool, one of the cool things about that is we got a lot of nonprofit training and trust me, I needed it. But part of that is they went through different aspects of nonprofit success and whatnot. But they first started out with the mission statement and they went around, there was 10 of us, and they went around and they came to my mission statement, which is they said, this is, this probably needs to be edited.
[00:46:24] Because a mission statement is normally, The company telling the client or the community what it is that they do. Our mission statement is reversed. Our mission statement is for the community to say it. No kid sleeps on the floor in my town. We want the community to say that it's not the company, it's the community and really that's when I think about stewardship, we all have stewardship.
[00:46:50] We all have responsibilities that people depend and rely on us and those that can't, we hope that. We get help from those that can, and in the community, [00:47:00] our stewards are each other and especially with these kids that, that can't help them. They're in this situation because of someone else's decisions, be honest with you, good or bad, but someone else's decisions.
[00:47:12] And if we can help take a little bit of time out of our day, week, or month to, to get kids off the floor that's, I think that's part of our stewardship. So this is my favorite question that I like to ask everybody. Imagine for a minute that I invented this magic machine and with this machine I was able to pluck you from where you are today and transport you into the future 150, maybe 250 years.
[00:47:41] Scott Maderer: But through the power of this machine, you were able to look back and see your entire life and see all of the impacts, all of the ripples, all of the connections you left behind in the world. What impact do you hope you left behind in the world?
[00:47:54] Luke Mickelson: [00:48:00] I hope people can look back and see two things maybe. Of course, I want people to, when they think of childlessness I want them to think that, you know what, that started by some kid in Idaho. But probably more importantly, Scott, is I just want, I just if I could have a footprint that people remembered me by, it's that I just inspired maybe others to do what's inside of them, what's already there, a passion to help them find a passion that I found by myself.
[00:48:36] I, and that passion I know is what? Drives everybody, especially in sleeping under the Beast and other nonprofits and it's just an honor, I guess might be the best way to say it. It and to be honored if you will, that I was the one that maybe inspired them to do that.
[00:48:56] And I hope that's maybe a legacy I can leave [00:49:00] and maybe inspire people. To do other things too. Cuz I know I struggle a little bit, Scott, be honest with you. People always come up and congratulate me and oh my gosh, you built 160,000 beds for kids and I know what they mean.
[00:49:14] But deep down on the inside I'm like, you know what? Honestly I've probably only built several hundred but it's really, it's
[00:49:23] Scott Maderer: thousands. But you facilitated all of those others happening
[00:49:25] Luke Mickelson: too. Sure. I get it. But really is, it's a thousand other people out there. Oh. We've actually had almost 300,000 volunteers since 2018.
[00:49:35] Wow. Build that. 160,000 beds. Those are the men and women that really put the rubber on the road and so I don't want to, I don't wanna take any credit from them, but I will say I'd like to know that I had a little peace in the inspiration of that, and like a lot of nonprofits too, I'm sure in subways, y'all's nonprofit [00:50:00] hopes that one day you have to close your doors and, oh, yeah. But not because.
[00:50:04] Scott Maderer: Couldn't get funding, but because you don't, aren't needed anymore. Correct. It's that would be the perfect world. Yeah.
[00:50:14] Luke Mickelson: Yeah. We got a long way to go, but we'll get there. I was gonna say, we still
[00:50:17] Scott Maderer: got a lot of work to do, but Yeah.
[00:50:19] I hope we reached that point someday. Yeah. So what's coming next for you as you continue on this journey throughout the rest of the year and into next year?
[00:50:29] Luke Mickelson: Yeah. I'm actually sleeping on the pieces. Seems to be always in a transition cuz we're growing so fast. Literally three years ago we had only a hundred plus chapters and we built just several thousand beds a year.
[00:50:42] Now we're at this growth. Stage where we're expanding not just into other states, but into potentially other countries. We do operate in four different countries right now, but at a much smaller scale. My, [00:51:00] my role. Has changed a little bit now. I really, as a founder and head of development, I work directly with the national sponsors in helping them and their communities, or rather their companies be more involved with this problem.
[00:51:16] Okay. Which has been super exciting for me cuz really telling the story and trying to inspire other, not just chapter presence, come on, but inspire companies to, to get behind their communities and get behind this mission. Is I think what I'm good at certainly is what my passion is and ultimately down the road as we establish even more foundation here in the United States is to be able to transfer this same.
[00:51:45] Game plan, this same program to other countries that we know are suffering. If they're suffering in the United States, we know they're suffering similarly all over the world. And if there's ways that we can implement this program and work with other countries [00:52:00] and build That mission of no kid sleeps on the floor in our town.
[00:52:04] I don't care what town it is, we want our town to be your town. That's really what we want to shoot for. So I see that in the not too distant future. I'm excited for it. I'm excited for all the new chapter presence that we're gonna see coming in. We're not in every state. But we soon to be in every state and in multiple chapters in each state.
[00:52:24] That's, we're excited for that. And I will throw out there just a quick buzz. We, coming up here in September is our bunks across America. So about four years ago we decided it'd be super fun, it's actually decided by a 12 year old kid. If you if you wanna believe that, he said, you know what, Luke, we ought to do, we ought to have all our chapters billed on the same day.
[00:52:45] And you think I'd have been smart enough to figure that out. I know, but I said, that's a great idea. What should we call it? And so we ended up calling up Bunks across America, which is I think the seventh, September 10th this year. It's the second Saturday of every September. And we [00:53:00] plan on. Having 200 plus cities across the country build 7,000 beds is our goal.
[00:53:06] So if you wanna learn more about that, you can go to our website and be involved. That would be fun.
[00:53:10] Scott Maderer: That'd be a great way for folks that are interested in seeing more about it, to, to volunteer and actually 100% actually make an impact. Yeah, 100%. If you work for one of those companies that gives you eight hours a year to go work volunteer or nonprofit work.
[00:53:26] I know other company I used to work to used to do that that was as long as you were putting in and working on a volunteer project, you could take your extra day, so to speak. That would be a great one to. To use that for in September.
[00:53:38] Luke Mickelson: And the beauty about sleeping a piece the build process, and I didn't realize this until down the road, but it's such a team building exercise.
[00:53:46] Sure. And I can't tell you how many people that come and build beds and come up to me afterwards and said I've volunteered in other nonprofits my whole life. This was the funnest thing I ever did. And I'm like looking at 'em as they're completely covered in [00:54:00] sweat and sawdust and all sorts of stuff.
[00:54:02] I'm like, really? Okay. But no, it's it is, there's something about. With your coat. Sure. Your co teammate or partner in crime or your kids or family or whatever, to be passing wood that you've both handled and both worked on to make a bed down, down the line. It really is a team building exercise and that's and our build days they can take.
[00:54:28] 10 people or 200 people and really have 'em have a job. We learned that the happiest volunteer is the Sweatiest and the Dustiest because because when people want volunteer, they want to feel like they actually are making a difference. And we'll put you to, people don't wanna
[00:54:44] Scott Maderer: volunteer and
[00:54:45] Luke Mickelson: stand on the sideline.
[00:54:46] That's not the point. No. They wanna volunteer and push a button. They wanna volunteer and sweat and feel like they did something and we'll do that for you.
[00:54:54] Scott Maderer: You can find out more about Luke and sleep in Heavenly Peace and those projects that we've been talking about on their [00:55:00] website,
[00:55:00] Luke Mickelson: atp
[00:55:01] Scott Maderer: beds.org, and of course I'll have a link to that over in the show notes as well.
[00:55:06] Luke, any last words
[00:55:07] Luke Mickelson: for the listener? Oh, thanks for listening. Thanks for being involved and just the fact that you're listening to this podcast and listening to Scott and all his guests certainly mean that you have an inkling of wanting to help. And if this is something that has inspired you, great.
[00:55:25] If it's something that you wanna be more involved with and learn more about we'd love to have you. Cuz I guarantee you, as you go to bed tonight and sitting in that nice comfortable bed that we all have, know that there's kids not far from your location that aren't, and they're sleeping on hard floors and have for many years.
[00:55:45] Scott Maderer: Thanks so much for listening to the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. As a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just [00:56:00] sit back and passively listen, but act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. If you enjoyed this episode, Please. Please do us a favor. Go over to inspired stewardship.com/itunes.
[00:56:18] Rate all one word iTunes rate. It'll take you through how to leave a rating and review, and how to make sure you're subscribed to the podcast so that you can get every episode as it comes out in your feed. Until next time, invest your time. Your talent and your treasures. Develop your influence and impact the world.
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and I'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.
In today's episode, I ask Luke about:
Some of the Resources recommended in this episode:
I make a commission for purchases made through the following link.
We were just so overwhelmed and he was too it wasn’t until we got back to town and I said no kids going to sleep on the floor in my town if I have anything to do with it. – Luke Mickelson
You can connect with Luke using the resources below: