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
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
"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
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
"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,"
"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
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.