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Bed Blitz director is playing the long game with focus on West Bloomington youth

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The West Bloomington Revitalization Project (WBRP) is devoted to creating better economic opportunities for families living on the city's west side.

While many often think of primary needs such as food, a house and clothes, the thought of needing a bed escapes many people’s minds. However, the WBRP hosts a Bed Blitz program to build beds for youths in need given that hundreds of requests come in each year for new beds. The next Bed Blitz is Saturday.

Volunteers from the Illinois State University Black Student union planning out the building of a bed at the 2019 Bed Blitz event.
Volunteers from the Illinois State University Black Student Union planning out the building of a bed at the 2019 Bed Blitz event.

Board member and director of the Bed Blitz program Robert Bosquez said investing in youth is important because they are our future leaders.

“We know that our youth here, if they don’t get a good night’s sleep, they’re not going to be very productive in the classroom. So, it starts off with a good night’s rest. So, we did enough fundraising for 40 beds our first year. Once we closed the application process, we had received over 100 requests. So that told us this was a need.”

One of the main focuses of WBRP is equipping the youth and meeting their needs to set them up for a happy life and for success.

“We want to make sure they have all the tools that they need to prosper and make our community even better. Bloomington-Normal is a wonderful community. All the knowledge and all the people we have here — we have three colleges and with Rivian coming in — there’s some opportunities there for youth to learn and not only have a good schooling here but there’s good jobs here. We like to keep those young folks here.”

The Bed Blitz event is from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. All recipients will get a custom made frame, mattress, sheets, quilt or blanket, teddy bear and laundry detergent. Volunteers willing to deliver the beds are still needed, and the West Bloomington Revitalization Project is in need of donations such as pillows, sheets and laundry detergent.

Bed Blitz is one of many ongoing programs at WBRP. Others include Veggie Oasis and the Bike Co-op.

Bosquez said the WBRP welcomes everyone and promotes a safe neighborhood through its community development-based programs.

Bosquez said he learned about WBRP initially through the Tool Library program.

“Personally, I’ve made many friends. I love what the program stands for. That’s one of the reasons I moved to West Bloomington is because of the history of it with the older homes, the neighborhood, the mature trees. WBRP is part of my life. For the last 15 to 20 years, I’ve been involved with WBRP. Not only do I get involved, but my family gets involved," he said.

Bosquez said WBRP is like one big family to him.

Jordan Mead is a reporting intern at WGLT. She joined the station in 2021.