Howell student helping shelter residents sleep better at night

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The new bed platforms Kyle Tokan, 17, is building for LACASA’s domestic violence shelter will serve residents well.

The project, which Mary Ann Forsberg of LACASA calls “exciting,” will keep shelter residents safer and prevent excessive wear and tear on the mattresses. Wheels falling off the current metal bed frames and personal items getting lost under the beds have been problems, but won’t be after Kyle gets done with his Eagle Scout project.

“It’s huge,” Forsberg said about the project. “He’s done a lot of work for this.”

It’s clear that Kyle doesn’t much like talking about himself and his achievements; self-promotion isn’t what he’s about. The guy who loves math, plays hockey and roots for the Red Wings, says the project is a “simple thing.”

But he’s being modest.

The need for the new bed platforms is great. Since there aren’t any chairs in the shelter rooms, clients use the beds for sitting, as well as for sleeping, which takes a toll on the edges of the mattresses and box springs.

“We were looking for something that was more stable, safer and better for the clients,” Forsberg said. “And when people are in crisis, they forget things, especially when stuff rolls under the beds. Now, nothing will get under there.”

The Eagle Scout project to rebuild the 21 beds in LACASA’s shelter had to wind its way through the research and Scouting approval process before anything else could begin.

The idea sprang from a conversation Kyle’s mother, Michelle Tokan, had with LACASA’s Julie Smith. “The renovation of the shelter’s bedding was on LACASA’s wish list,” Kyle said.

He researched the problem and came up with the plan to build wooden bed bases.

“The bases can’t be moved, they’re more supportive and the bedding will last a lot longer,” Kyle said.

He made a project workbook and went in front of a Scout committee for approval. Then came fundraising, which was quicker and easier than Kyle had anticipated.

“We raised $2,200 through donations and can drives,” Kyle said.

The funds went toward the purchase of platform materials, as well as box springs and mattresses from Capital Bedding in Lansing. Construction of the platforms will begin soon.

“I’m getting help from my Troop on that,” Kyle said. “They’ll come to my house and we’ll build the platforms here.”

Kyle, who lists his father as his inspiration for “always being there” and having a “good work ethic,” said he’s built “simple things” with his father in the past. He estimates the project will be completed in the next couple months.

“I’ve not hit any roadblocks yet,” he said.

When the new beds go into service in the shelter, the old beds and frames that are in good shape will be offered to LACASA’s clients when they leave.

Forsberg has been impressed with Kyle throughout the project. “He’s such a laid-back kid,” she said, “and he’s so committed and so gung-ho. He’s been just wonderful.”

TO HELP

You can help give the gift of comfort to those fleeing unsafe situations in their homes by sponsoring a shelter bed.

• You can sponsor a bed base for a donation of $20.

• You can sponsor a box spring for a donation of $29.

• You can sponsor a mattress for a donation of $70.

• You can sponsor an entire shelter bed for $119.

For information on making a donation, call LACASA at (517) 548-1350. For more information on LACASA, click here.


About Maria Stuart 212 Articles
Journalist Maria Stuart lives in Howell. She worked at The Livingston County Press/Livingston County Daily Press & Argus as a reporter, editor and managing editor from 1990-2009. She is often spotted holding court at Uptown Coffeehouse. You can check out her website by clicking here.