Building beds for children in need
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – It's a class on carpentry at Iroquois High School.
As teacher Stephen Anderson describes it – a lesson in compassion, helping children who are homeless and bedless.
What they're doing is building beds.
Helping thousands of children in Jefferson County Public Schools who don't have a bed -- maybe someone at their school.
Iroquois' principal saw First Christian Church build beds in December and thought they could and should do it too.
Teachers purchasing the mattresses and the school building up to 50 beds.
It’s estimated about 3,000 children don’t have beds in Jefferson County Public Schools – that’s about 20 children per school.
Ben Langley who works with JCPS's Community Support programs says he believes the number is even higher.
Langley will deliver made beds to children who don't have one.
The number of students who don't have a home is even higher and often times more complicated.
Sherita and her son Joshua are enjoying some family time watching TV and it's something special.
It’s special because it's in their apartment after transitioning from a homeless shelter full of rules and not much space. Sherita's slide began with health problems.
She had blood clots and eventually lost her job, then her home. It was scary enough for her but with a son too. Sherita felt she failed her son and didn’t protect him.
Joshua began missing school. His grades began to drop and he was afraid to answer the question – where do you live?
He never answered the question, worrying children would make fun of him.
It's a situation playing out in alarming numbers in Jefferson County Public Schools, more than 7,000 students identified as homeless.
Giselle Danger-Mercaderes helped Sherita and Joshua navigate their way back into a home – a home filled with hope, and second chances, her favorite sayings on the wall, like the joy of the lord is my strength.
Giselle and other support staff at JCPS work with hundreds of families to find stability, including 3 sisters now staying at a local shelter.
With each move for a child comes a blow to learning. Two moves in one year can take 8 months to recover.
Each family's circumstances vary but Giselle says 70 percent have jobs and it's something that can happen to any of us.
For Gracie, Maggie and Gabby, they still have their dream of a perfect house drawing it for us.
Putting the pieces back together to solve homelessness will take time but remember those beds built by students at Iroquois?
It's now delivery day – a tangible and easier way our community can help a family – a child.
Two children at this home who've been sleeping on the floor. Ben Langley and his crew
changing lives one bed at a time thanks to groups like Iroquois.
Ben hopes another group will step forward, claiming the next build a bed as their own.
A basic need most of us take for granted. But for the two children in this home, it's a dream come true.
Sweet dreams to them.
If you have a group ready to fund and work the next build a bed, you can call Ben Langley at 485-3926.
You can also make a financial donation. You can make checks out to the Jefferson County Education Foundation and put “Build a Bed” in the memo section of the check.
You can send it to Jefferson County Education Foundation, Build a Bed, 3332 Newburg Road, Louisville KY, 40218.