At Sleep in Heavenly Peace, we've been fortunate to be able to spread our mission across more than 125 different chapters. And within each of those chapters, you'll find inspiring and unique stories behind the why's and the how's of how their SHP journey got started.
In TX, Houston-NW you'll find Gary Akin; Chapter President and SHP Enthusiast. This is a treasured Chapter that we'd like to share with you to give you a glimpse of their unique contributions to the SHP family.
When asked what the inspiration was behind starting the chapter, he responded:
I have been a Habitat volunteer for over 25 years, serving as President for 2 years and Co-construction Chairman for over 10 years. I have seen many a family move into a new home and not have furniture and beds for their kiddos. My activity with Habitat has waned, particularly as it pertains to building houses every Saturday, and the job site is not as friendly as it was in my younger years. I was inspired by a Facebook Live program by Mike Rowe (of Dirty Jobs fame)—Returning the Favor—in which he highlighted Luke Mickelson and the Sleep in Heavenly Peace story. I immediately suggested to Nikki that this was something we could do. She said, "go for it".
TX, Houston-NW Chapter's Current Numbers
Volunteers to-date: 393
Kids off the floor who now have beds: 251
TX, Houston-NW Chapter's Most Memorable Build
When asked what the most memorable build has been and why, he responded:
Our build last September drew 64 volunteers in conjunction with our church’s annual "Make a Difference Day", when members of the congregation form groups to work on various projects to make a difference in the lives of others. It was truly great to see my Habitat and Church friends and new people come together for such a worthy cause.
TX, Houston-NW Chapter's Impact in the Community
When asked what impact he has seen in the community as a result of his Chapter's efforts, he responded:
We’ve seen an almost overwhelming effort of support of volunteers and donations to help in any way they can. Everyone rallied and it was amazing the skills they brought to bear on our need.We were extremely blessed right up front to be given a permanent building facility by the Met Church, so we are always ready to build. Volunteers show up for a build and work is laid out for them to immediately be productive. I have even been able to inspire a long time Habitat friend to start another chapter in Beaumont and have really enjoyed sharing with him what has worked well for us.For my wife, Nikki, and I, this has been an unbelievable experience of pulling friends and new friends and even family together to support the program. Nikki really enjoys putting the bedding packages together, considering age and gender as she selects sheets and comforters to make up the packages for delivery. It become a social occasion for other friends and neighbors to help in this task.
Chapter Goals for the Coming Year
We plan to participate in SHP’s Bunks Across America and build 100 beds on that single day. Annually we have in sight to build 750 beds. We have over 600 on the build schedule already.
Why TX, Houston-NW Finds it Important to Continue the Mission of SHP
When asked why it's important to him that the Chapter continue to spread the mission of SHP, he responded:
Because we see how we are making a difference—not only with kids and their families, but with people who volunteer on build days and with those who donate bedding. The outpouring of support from our community has been outstanding, to say the least.