In 2012, he and his family were inspired to build and give a bunk bed after learning that there were local children sleeping on the floor.
"This little girl had a nest of clothes, looked like a small nest of birds and she slept, that was her bed," said Mickelson. "When we delivered the bed, he embraced it and just could not let it go."
"It was such an opener for me," he reminded. "I sat there silently thinking," Is that really what's happening? "
He was born and raised in Idaho, Mickelson, now 41, was a junior high school, who became a family man. A church with a thriving career, coaching the children's sports teams and fishing in the nearby river. But when he met children sleeping on the floor, his idyllic life changed naturally.
"I had no idea what the need was," said Mickelson. "There are children beside whom parents just struggle to put food on the table, clothes on their backs, a roof over their heads, a bed was just luxury."
Using the security instructions and his daughter's bunk as a model, Mickelson began buying wood and supplies for making beds with his own money. Play friends and family members to help the holidays.
As the word spread, interest and involvement from its own and other communities grew – along with the exit of the Mickelson bed.
"This first project, we built 11 bunk beds in my garage," he said. "Next year, we did 15. Then it doubled every year. In 2017, we built 612 bunk beds. "
Mickelson created an official charity, accompanied by training courses, building manuals and local chapters, so coastal communities on the coast can join the movement.
With the slogan "No kid sleeping on the floor in our city," the nonprofit and more than 65 chapters have built and delivered over 1,500 free beds to children across America.
But along with rapid growth, Mickelson faced a difficult choice: to promote his career or his non-profit. Choose the last one and went from doing "big money for zero money." He never looked back.
"I found that the need I have is not economic," he said. "The need I have is to see the joy of the faces of the children, knowing I can make the difference."
Allie Torgan of CNN spoke to Mickelson about his work. Below is a modified version of their conversation.
CNN: Who are the recipients of your group?
Luke Mickelson: These children that we serve in our community come to us from all walks of life. They did not get into this situation because of their choices. Often, they take their clothes at night, put their pajamas and sleep over their clothes. And then they just repeat this cycle every day.
We have many situations where single parents escape from an abusive situation. Many situations of violence where parents or grandparents try to help. Many homeless people, people trying to get back on their feet. A $ 300 or $ 400 bed is just out of reach for them.
CNN: How will they find you?
CNN: You have closed your job and you do not receive any salary from the nonprofit organization. How do you meet the edges?
Mickelson: I left my job for 18 years because I wanted to do it full time or at least as much as I could, because I knew the need was great. I just came to a point where I could see that my passion really helps these guys. It was nice to see my children and my family participate in it and help them learn the value of the service, but also to see everyone else feeling and seeing this joy of helping children get off the floor. It is contagious.
I was lucky to have another company to offer me a job. Granted, I took a huge reduction in pay, but it helps me get through and helps me do what I have to do with sleeping in Heavenly Peace. It is very understandable for my passion.
CNN: How do children react to their new beds?
Mickelson: When we send a bed, there is the tire that meets the road. We assure that they understand that "this is your bed, this is yours. This is your possession," you know?
The main tone is: "We are here for the child". You walk and these kids are so excited. They want to help in their construction. They want the drills to run. They want to bring in wood. To give the child a sense of ownership, a sense of responsibility, and a good sleep, is enormous for them. They learn how to take care of things. They learn value. They have confidence – and they have a good night's sleep.
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