Teen finding other children A Place to Sleep - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Teen finding other children A Place to Sleep

Posted: Updated:
Jessica Collins Jessica Collins
Jessica delivering her first bed. Jessica delivering her first bed.
Leesa Stivers Leesa Stivers
Ryan Allan Ryan Allan
Since 2009,  Jessica has found beds and bedding for 370 children who at one time didn't have a safe warm place of their own to sleep. Since 2009, Jessica has found beds and bedding for 370 children who at one time didn't have a safe warm place of their own to sleep.

SHELBYVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Many high school freshmen spend their time hanging out with their friends, busy with school and obsessed with their extracurricular activities. A Shelby County 14-year-old does all of that but she's also being recognized for how she's making a difference. 

Jessica Collins is scheduled to be on the April 6 cover of a national publication, USA Weekend, a magazine stuffed in newspapers all over the country. It's all because she cares deeply about something so many of us take for granted, that every child in her area has a place to sleep.

Jessica isn't all that comfortable with TV interviews or any kind of spotlight.

"I like doing it, but I don't need everyone to know," she said.

She prefers to let the work that she's doing shine all on its own.

"I didn't know kids don't have beds. It's just something I didn't think of," said Jessica.

She remembers being 9 years old and watching a scene in the movie "The Blind Side" when now-NFL star Michael Oher, taken in by a Memphis family, said he'd never had a bed before.

"I told my grandmother that I want to give a kid a bed that year for Christmas," said Jessica.

She remembers delivering her first bed, "There was actually I think three kids and they came out and they saw us coming and they ran out of their apartment and they were just jumping up and down."

Then Jessica discovered what Collins High School Youth Service Center Coordinator Leesa Stivers already knew.

"There is a great need of beds in Shelby County," Stivers said. "Every single day, one of the family resource centers get a phone call from parents that have had a life-changing situation."

So Jessica couldn't stop with just one bed. She started what she called A Place to Sleep. Since 2009, she's found beds and bedding for 370 children who at one time didn't have a safe warm place of their own to sleep.

"Doctors always say to get eight hours of good sleep when you're a kid, well you can't really do that if you're sleeping in a bed with five of your siblings or sleeping on the floor," said Jessica.

"We have seen children that have received a bed, their attendance goes up, their grades go up, their health goes up," said Stivers.

As Jessica has found, sometimes a good night's sleep is the start to a whole life turnaround.

"The first family we helped, actually now they've gotten back on their feet and they come to our fundraisers and help out," she said.

So the girl who'd rather avoid spotlight is going to have to get used to it because word of her good works is spreading.

"What makes it really special is that she's not doing it for the recognition," said Ryan Allan, public relations coordinator with Shelby County Public Schools. "She's just doing it to make the world a better place to live."

Allan said what's neat is it's not just Jessica. Many of the other students in her schools are either helping her or doing their own special projects.

Jessica shot the cover of USA weekend March 10 in New York with Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie of the Today Show. She'll also get $10,000 for being one of the winners of the magazine's Make A Difference Day contest.

To learn more about A Place to Sleep, click here.

Copyright 2014 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.