The Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) has donated $1,000 and members volunteered time building beds with the Rolla chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP) on Saturday. Members helped build 20 beds to ensure local kids have a comfortable place to sleep.
“One of our goals for the YEP/Firehouse Coffee Shop is to annually give funds back to the community to help other non-profit youth programs. It can be in the form of a donation or it may be in the form of a grant requiring an organization to apply for funding,” YEP Director Terrill Story explained. YEP is a St. James High school student-led volunteer organization that raises money through the operation of the coffee shop, located next to the high school and gives money back to other volunteer organizations to serve their communities.
“In March, pre-COVID chaos, YEP students had learned about the Sleep in Heavenly Peace program in our community. The students voted to make a donation to that organization in the amount of $1,000. We had also planned to host an evening in May to assist in the building of beds with SHP, however, due to COVID, we were unable to make that happen,” Story said.
Plans were still in place to donate and after months of waiting, YEP was given approval to meet in a small group, allowing them to not only give their donation, but to help create beds for the organization.
“Very few of my students were able to gather to assist, but we are in the planning stages of another community build in September,” Story said.
The group of students met and helped build a 20 wooden bunk beds, which will be distributed locally for children who don’t have a bed to sleep on. Sleep in Heavenly Peace is a volunteer organization dedicated to building bunk beds and delivering them to families in need. The organization, which started in a garage, has now expanded into 200 chapters nationwide as well as Canada and Bermuda.
YEP students have a long history of providing funds for local causes and Story said he was very proud in the work they did over a three-hour time frame, helping SHP create the beds while having fun doing it. In the past, YEP has given funding to the Tri-County Humane Society, the local tennis commission to improve the tennis courts at the city park, school activities, and many more.
Students work at the Firehouse Coffee Shop to raise money, learning entrepreneurial skills, job skills, learning to work as a team, how to serve, and other life skills that will help students as they enter the workplace. All proceeds from the facility is put back into the community.
Anyone interested in learning more about SHP, to donate, or to get involved with building beds, can view their Facebook page at Sleep in Heavenly Peace-MO, Rolla, or by visiting their website at www.shpbeds.org.