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Building Beds for a Better Tomorrow: Kimley-Horn Partners with Sleep in Heavenly Peace

Sleep in Heavenly Peace Team

Every child deserves a bed to sleep in—that’s the mission that inspires Sleep in Heavenly Peace, a nonprofit organization that is “dedicated to building, assembling and delivering top-notch bunk beds to children and families in need.”

Kimley-Horn co-sponsored a “bed build day” with Sleep in Heavenly Peace and organizations from the local engineering and planning community. In total, 50 volunteers—including seven employees from our Tallahassee office—built and delivered 15 bunk beds for families in the area.

The Origin Story

This volunteer event couldn’t have happened without the efforts of our very own Dwight Dempsey, PE, SE, who spearheaded this initiative. In 2022, Dwight was nominated by Kimley-Horn to take part in the Florida Engineering Leadership Institute (FELI), a 10-month program that was “created to transition engineering professionals into community professionals and leaders within our societies, communities, and workplaces.”

As part of the FELI program, Dwight and his classmates were required to participate in a collaborative community impact project. Inspired by his Kimley-Horn teammate, Natalie Zierden, PE, who has been involved with Sleep in Heavenly Peace for more than 10 years, Dwight pitched the nonprofit to his classmates for their project focus—and the organization was selected.

Together, the class took part in six bed building events across Florida, building over 100 beds for children in need. From this project, Dwight developed a strong relationship with the Sleep in Heavenly Peace chapter in Tallahassee and was inspired to continue working with the organization.

Collaborating for a Cause

After the conclusion of the FELI program, Dwight started to plan for his next bed build, and he applied and received a Kimley-Horn Foundation grant for Sleep in Heavenly Peace. Established to support our employees’ community involvement efforts, the Kimley-Horn Foundation “donates to organizations based on the passions of our people.”

To get others involved, Dwight reached out to engineering consultant groups from around the area. Environmental & Geotechnical Specialists, HDR, DHM Melvin Engineering, Barkley Consulting Engineers, and Florida Structural Engineers Association all joined in as sponsors and volunteers for the January bed build event and raised over $6,500 together.

The day of the event, the groups worked side-by-side and participated in the construction, delivery, and assembly of 15 bunk beds. Employees from Kimley-Horn who volunteered included Laura Cicone; Dwight Dempsey, PE, SE; Ashton Hess; Michael King, EI; Zach Miller, PE; Ali Palmer; and Natalie Zierden, PE. 

After finishing building the beds, the day was far from over. In fact, the groups also worked to deliver the beds to local community members and assemble the beds themselves.

“We delivered a bed to a young boy, and he was incredibly interested in learning how the bed was built and wanted to be a part of the assembly process. He helped me install the screws, bolts, nuts, and washers—and after helping me finish the bed’s assembly, he was so proud to show his mom his work! There’s no greater joy than seeing the excitement on the kids’ faces when they see their beds being assembled.”

Giving Back by Building Beds

After a successful bed build, Dwight is excited to make this an annual tradition at Kimley-Horn—and within the engineering community.

“You may have never thought about it previously, but there is a significant demand for beds. This issue affects our communities across the nation, and by collaborating, we’re able to band together for a great cause and make a big difference.”

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