This year, Sleep in Heavenly Peace is pleased to announce the Heather Allen Guardian of the Mission award. This award honors the legacy of SHP chapter founder Heather Allen, her unique contributions to SHP, and the spirit of her service. 2020's Heather Allen Guardian of the Mission has been awarded to JP Wilson.
Read on to learn about this award: its namesake, Heather Allen, and the inaugural Heather Allen Guardian of the Mission Award winner.
The Legacy of Heather Allen
When Jordan and Heather Allen started the Boise Chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace in 2013, the dialed-in processes SHP has today did not exist. With limited resources and the hope of success on their shoulders, they were fortunate to have great friends with the right tools to help.
Heather recognized the value of organizing a process for applications and bed deliveries. This was born from both the practical nature of her circumstance and the now-germinating seeds from her past life experiences... of helping her own kids at the builds.
“I felt like I was always sweeping!” Heather remembered.
Focus on the Applicant, not the Application
While others owned the actual bed construction process, she recognized that the experience and subsequent delivery to those who applied for beds were just as crucial. Heather began engaging with applicants, making calls, asking them questions, listening to humans in need, and hearing them, their pain, frustrations, and cries for help.
“I would find people crying their hearts out – and I would cry along with them,” she said.
Among so much else, she encountered people grateful to be heard, listened to with no strings attached, no judgment – just someone, anyone, with a desire to listen and help.
“I loved it,'' Heather said, speaking of these conversations with the parents, guardians, teachers, social workers, and others. “It was something I could do.”
Heather’s earlier background in elementary education and time spent as an intern working with the Women and Children’s Center prepared her in ways she could not have anticipated. This pattern of gaining external experiences that would benefit Sleep in Heavenly Peace significantly continued throughout her time with the organization.
Over the years, Heather developed the process of vetting applicants, which has been one of the foremost tools our Chapters have to ensure they are finding and responding to children’s needs and, in many ways, to the hurting adults found with them. “It was about so much more than the bed…it’s the vetting component that makes the whole experience much more intimate, much more human,” Heather found.
Heather’s Changing Role
As the years went by, Heather’s role in SHP evolved, and she continued to be an invaluable component to the growth and success of SHP. She was a founding member of the board of directors and took on the role of managing SHP’s risk, partly by default but mostly based on her willingness to do what was needed regardless of how hard it was. She learned all things insurance to ensure that not only were SHP leaders safe but, more importantly, our volunteers and recipients were kept safe.
In mid-2020, Heather made the difficult decision to step down from the board. It was hard for those who relied on her for so many years to realize that her guiding influence was no longer part of SHP as it had been for so many years. Her impact on SHP is immeasurable.
In Recognition of Heather’s Contributions
It would take volumes to properly recognize what Heather brought to the table—a requirement that just isn’t suited to a blog post. However, the SHP Board did see a fitting way to commemorate Heather. That would be the launch of a new award: The Heather Allen Guardian of the Mission Award.
The Heather Allen Guardian of the Mission
Beginning in 2020, the Board of Directors will recognize one key person that exemplifies the characteristics of guarding the mission of SHP: “No Kid Sleeps on the Floor in Our Town."
These characteristics can be summed up in the following list:
- Attitude of Service to Others
- Influencing Others With the Desire to Serve
- Growth in His/Her role and Empowering Others to Serve and Grow
- Unrelenting Optimism Toward a Goal
- Mutual Support
- Focus on the Bed Applicant
- Community Networking
- Putting the Mission First and Doing the Job that Needs Done
2020 Award Recipient: JP Wilson
In 2020, The Board of Directors recognizes JP Wilson as the recipient of the inaugural Heather Allen Guardian of the Mission. When JP joined SHP in March 2018, no one knew of his passion and ability.
From the beginning, JP demonstrated a clear understanding of the importance and sanctity of the SHP mission, starting as a Chapter President. Immediately, he charted a course to impact his community, even purchasing chapter tools and equipment at his own expense. His selfless devotion to the mission also spread outside his community as he mentored and supported the growth of other new Chapter Presidents across the entire organization, always recognizing the needs of others.
JP continues to provide invaluable service to the entire SHP organization through his contributions to the SHP Executive Team, working endless hours tending to the health and growth of our SHP family. He has undoubtedly become a critical part of who we are.
We are grateful to have had Heather as a significant part of creating SHP’s mission as well as having JP to continue that mission.