May 1, 2012 — MSUCorps, a division of AmeriCorps, combined forces with local businesses and volunteers last Saturday to provide beds for those less fortunate.
Founded in 2009, the Build-A-Bed Project mission is to ensure that K-12 Eastern Kentucky children are guaranteed a proper place to sleep in their home.
Enabled through the generosity of Eastern Kentucky communities, donated funds were used to make this year's project a reality with enough money collected to provide 55 beds for youth.
MSUCorps Project Director Mary Claire Williams stepped right up to lead the effort.
Williams provided background about the group of volunteers she inherited.
"We have 33 members and they volunteer their time to tutor students in several sites throughout our Eastern Kentucky service area," Williams said. "As a corps, we also want to commit ourselves to community service projects and this is one of our most important."
The new director described what it means to be able to provide a bed to students who face uncomfortable sleeping arrangements like a couch or a just a mattress or mat on a floor.
"This is the second year that MSU has hosted a local build, as the corps participated in a state build the first time around in 2010," Williams said. "Yes, it has been an absolute joy to be able to step into such a great situation. Doing well in school and getting a good night's rest goes hand-in-hand. This program can help them get a better night's sleep which, in turn, should help them in the classroom."
In addition to the bed frame and mattress, students also get a bag of bedtime necessities, including a night light, comforter, toothbrush, and storybook.
Lindsey Parker, MSUCorps member and Build-A-Bed participant, said she felt like the event was a true success.
"I work in these schools and I see the hardship some of these kids face each and every day," Parker said. "It is a heartbreaking to hear some of the stories these children tell. A little bit of time and effort can help to improve a tough situation for them, and I am so happy to be able to be part of this."
One big question on everyone's mind was how many beds were going to go to tornado victims of Eastern Kentucky.
Williams assured the citizens of Morgan County and West Liberty they need not worry, as plans are in the works to have a special build dedicated to tornado relief efforts.
"We actually expected a lot of this build's focus to be on providing beds for West Liberty," Williams said. "But, we discovered that they were actually not ready for beds yet due to the fact many were still without homes. We are currently setting plans for another build in July, one that will focus solely on tornado relief efforts."
Grant Stevens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 784-4116.