Sleep in Heavenly Peace

PBJHS students help nonprofit build bed for family in need
Posted on 11/14/2023
Dave Elledge teaches Junior High students how to build a bed.

Poplar Bluff Junior High students helped civic leaders build bed No. 661 for an area child in need, as part of the school’s community service elective class.

Officials of Sleep in Heavenly Peace visited the seventh graders on Friday, Nov. 3, to help spread the word about the local chapter of the nonprofit, established in Poplar Bluff about four years ago.

“Our goal is to get to the point where some day, every kid in our town has a bed of their own,” co-founder Dave Elledge stated. “I think that’s kind of worthwhile.”

Before Elledge was most recently elected to the R-I Board of Education, he became involved with the school system as a member of the Bright Futures advisory board, an umbrella organization that provides framework for schools to match outstanding student needs with existing resources in the community via a rapid response system.

While accompanying the district’s social workers to a Kansas City symposium for Bright Futures affiliates, Elledge became aware of the child bedlessness crisis, he explained. In 2019, he and wife Luann, Junior High counselor, launched an SHP chapter, constructing 22 beds via an assembly line at River Radio. They hosted their next ‘build day’ in the R-I Administrative Building parking lot.

At present, 552 beds have been delivered to children, ages 3-17, in the greater Poplar Bluff region, as well as west near Doniphan and east toward Dexter, Elledge shared. The easy-to-follow design allows for around 30 beds to be built in under three hours, he estimated, noting that 30-50 helpers volunteer. A delivery team of two to four people then assemble the headboard and side rails in the home, complete with mattresses, pillows and bedding.

“It’s 100 percent volunteer-based and donation-supported, meaning it 100 percent happens because people care about kids,” Elledge continued. “We do it simply so kids can have a good night’s sleep.”

Elledge has served as guest speaker for the community service class in the past. The elective was previously taught by his daughter, Lyndsee Moon, a former Poplar Bluff social studies instructor, along with colleague Aaron Duncan, who since has transferred to the High School. Allison Bell currently serves over the semester-long course, designated for grade seven.

“Mrs. Bell has a real service-learning heart,” Junior High Principal Candace Warren stated. The class was originally created during a brainstorming session when Warren accepted her leadership post during the 2017/18 academic year, and shortened class periods so students—particularly those involved with band—can fit a second elective into their schedules.

“Some child is gonna benefit from the bed you built,” Elledge informed the students. “I think that’s pretty cool – to have an impact on a life like that.”

To fill out an application to request a bed, or make a monetary donation to SHP for lumber or mattresses, please visit www.shpbeds.org.

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Cutline: School board member Dave Elledge, co-founder of a Sleep in Heavenly Peace chapter, teaches Junior High students how to build a bed on Friday, Nov. 3, in the gymnasium, alongside build director Steve Keith.

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