Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Oberlin Offices Partner with Good Knights of Lorain County

This November, Oberlin donated 300 beds and dressers to Good Knights, a nonprofit organization based in Lorain that seeks to provide beds to those in need, particularly children. The project was facilitated by Facilities Operations, the Office of Residence Life, and the Office of Energy and Sustainability after renovations to Noah Hall, Burton Hall, Zechiel House, and Barnard House as part of the Sustainable Infrastructure Program. 

Replacing the beds was the beginning of a campus-wide plan to replace furniture in residence halls, but the offices did not want the furniture to go to waste. Looking for alternatives to long term storage or disposal, the offices reached out to Goodwill, which helped connect them with Good Knights. The beds and dressers were then kept in storage trailers until they could be moved to their new homes.

Sustainability Manager Heather Adelman and Logistics and Mobile Technologies Manager Angela Crawford wrote in an email to the Review that the rehoming of the furniture is part of the Oberlin College Environmental Policy Implementation Plan, which sets zero waste as a goal by 2050. 

Additionally, the Facility Operations department is working to source more sustainable furniture in the future, including locally made and repairable products. 

“Achieving zero waste means creating end-of-life management programs such as composting, recycling, and donation, but also means creating policies that ensure that items that come to campus can be repaired or donated, or if necessary, easily recycled,” Adelman and Crawford wrote.

Good Knights — the nonprofit organization that received the furniture from the College — partners with sustainability projects to pursue their goal of “ending child bedlessness,” with the goal of providing a bed for every child from the ages of 3–18 in Lorain County.

The organization was founded by Roger Dorsey, who went for three years without a bed as a child. Fleeing domestic violence, Dorsey left West Virginia with his mother and siblings in the early 1980s and moved in with his aunt in Elyria. There weren’t enough beds for him and his siblings, so for years he slept in a closet on a pile of clothes. 

In 2018, Dorsey received the opportunity to found a bed-building ministry with a national organization. He founded Good Knights in 2020 to focus resources in Lorain County. 

Good Knights doesn’t only see providing a bed to a child in need as a way to improve that child’s day to day life, but also as a way to invest in their futures. 

“[Giving a child a bed] is giving them a foundation for a better education, to be able to stay in school, stay focused while they’re in school, and have a brighter future,” Dorsey said. “Published studies show that if a child has gotten a good night’s sleep in a proper bed — not on a couch or something like that — they are far more likely to stay in school, to get better grades, to not get involved with drugs and running with the wrong crowd.”

The organization is working toward providing 600 beds annually with an emphasis on providing beds to local children. They also collaborate with schools, nonprofits, and churches in the wider Ohio area. Through Good Knights, Oberlin’s donated furniture was also distributed to The LCADA Way, a center for Lorain families struggling with addiction, and the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, which provides affordable housing in Cleveland. 

“I want to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to Good Knights and Oberlin College for donating furniture to our residential facility,” Lisa Elliott, the program director for The LCADA Way, said in a press release about the furniture donations. 

According to their website, Good Knights is entirely volunteer-operated and always looking for more hands. Dorsey hopes Oberlin students will get involved with the organization’s work and suggests that if interested student groups reach out, an event to build beds could potentially be held on or around the Oberlin campus, as has happened at Lorain County Community College and several local high schools. 

“We probably deliver about 10 percent of our beds to the City of Oberlin,” Dorsey said. “So [this is] a project they could connect directly to their community with.”

Good Knights is hosting an ongoing drive to collect new twin sheets, pillows, pillowcases, and blankets. Those who wish to donate materials can drop them off at the bed set up in the lobby of The Hotel at Oberlin.

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