2017 Sunbeam Celebration Auction Items Needed!

The 2017 Sunbeam Celebration will be here before we know it! We want to make sure everyone marks their calendars for October 7th, 2017. This years celebration will be held at Atonement Lutheran Church in St. Cloud, MN. Thank you to all that are helping putting this wonderful event together.

Even with it a few months away, we are starting the search for both silent and live auction items! This is where we could use help from YOU! If you own a business or know anyone that does and it willing to donate items, time or services, please let us know! We are grateful for any items big or small.

All money raised at the celebration goes to support the ongoing operation at Sunbeam. This celebration could not be possible without all of YOU!

Please feel free to contact either team coordinator Mel Harmon or social media coordinator Maureen McCarthy with questions or items for donation.

Mel Harmon-

Maureen McCarthy-

Summer at Sunbeam

This summer will be a very busy one at Sunbeam. With a total of 5 teams heading down, time will be spent with the boys, doing work projects, and helping out around the home. Please keep all the teams in your thoughts and prayers for a safe journey and a faith-filled week at Sunbeam with the boys and staff. The following teams will be heading down this summer, with the first team arriving in just 2 weeks!

Ezekiel Lutheran – River Falls: June 14-21

Woodbury Community Team: June 23-30

Christ the King – Indiana: July 6-15

Washington State Team: July 19-27

Iowa Team: July 29-August 5

Please also keep SAM board member Maureen McCarthy in your prayers as she volunteers 6 weeks of her time helping out around Sunbeam.

Sunbeam is always in need of donations. With so many teams going down this summer, this would be a perfect time to get your donations to Sunbeam. Contact Team Coordinator Mel Harmon at to get your donations down to Sunbeam to help out the boys. Flip flops, shorts, hygiene products and snacks are always a need at Sunbeam. For a more detailed list of donations needed, click here!

We thank everyone, especially teams for their continued support of Sunbeam. We couldn’t do it without all of YOU! Check back for updates to the Team Travel Schedule for teams heading to Sunbeam soon!

Spring 2017 Newsletter is here!

Our NEW Spring 2017 Newsletter is here! Read about the latest happenings around Sunbeam. In the newsletter you can read about the boys, hear from our Chairperson Kristy Beissler, Executive Director Sherry Bigalke, and Team Coordinator Mel Harmon. Also read about the rising of our social medias and hear updates from teams that have been at Sunbeam recently. Most importantly, you can read how YOU can help out Sunbeam and how to donate!

We thank you all for your continued support of Sunbeam!

Click Here to see the latest Spring 2017 Newsletter

SAM Board Spotlight: Kristy Beissler

Next up on our SAM Board spotlight, we have none other than our amazing chairperson herself, Kristy Beissler! Kristy not only has a loving heart for Sunbeam, she is also a very strong woman with a bright vision for Sunbeam.

Each board member were given questions about their Sunbeam story. Below are Kristy’s thoughtful responses.

1. How long have you been part of the SAM Board and what position do you hold?

I have been a member of the SAM board for three years.  This past year I was elected to the position of Chairman.

2. How long and when did you start becoming part of Sunbeam?

Mel Harmon and I became friends thru church and when she went back to work, I had the pleasure of taking care of her kiddos.  She always found ways to weave her Sunbeam stories into conversations.  As a family we began to support Sunbeam thru donations and finally, we decided it was time to go.  My oldest daughter, Abbey and I went on our first trip in 2012 with follow up trips in 2013, 2014 and 2015 with one or both of our oldest girls.  The summer of 2016 was the year my husband, David and son, Aaron got to go along.  This summer will be the year our youngest daughter Amelia will go.  Sunbeam is a place we all love and now, with all of us having had the Sunbeam experience, is a common thread that ties us to a larger Sunbeam family.

3. Reason why you are on the Board?

Why am I on the board?   I do not wonder why…God of course!  He calls us to live out His life purpose for His kingdom.  Those of us on the board come from all different walks of life and different seasons of life, but the tie that binds us together is a love for Sunbeam, for the boys and staff that are Sunbeam.  God asks us to “go” and He desires us to trust Him.  That looks different for everyone, but we feel unequipped and fearful.  Whether that is saying “yes” to going to Sunbeam or saying “yes” to a position on the SAM board, putting our trust, hope and faith that God will equip us with just what we need…and if it is God’s will, there will be fruit.

4. What do you hope to achieve in being part of the SAM Board?

As a SAM board member, my main goal is to share the Sunbeam story.  To let people know about this little place in Gutter’s corner where God is at work…in the boys, staff, community and teams that visit it, as well as people who continually pray for Sunbeam.  I also desire for us to work well with the staff at Sunbeam as well as our JAM board members in Jamaica.  God’s work is always a team effort and we are so thankful for our Sunbeam staff and JAM board.

5. Favorite memory about Sunbeam?

I love to look out at the backyard at Sunbeam…team members, staff, boys all coming together and sharing time in activities, sports, work projects or crafts and feeling God’s hand in all the details big and small.  I do it every trip and it just amazes me at God’s goodness.

We thank Kristy for her continued love and support to the Sunbeam mission. We are so lucky to have you as our chairperson! Thank you!

Spotlight: The Face Behind Sunbeam’s Social Media and Website

I have so much enjoyed working and being in charge of Sunbeam’s social media, that I thought it was time to introduce myself. I am not one for the “spotlight” to be on me, but I enjoy sharing my Sunbeam story with all of you.

My name is Maureen McCarthy. I am 23 years old and recently graduated from Winona State with a degree in Therapeutic Recreation. Here is my Sunbeam story:

My journey with Sunbeam started during my sophomore year in college at Winona State University. I always had my mind set on either studying abroad or doing a travel study sometime during my college career. I was in the middle of switching my major to Special Education then and I came across a 10-day travel study trip that the department had over spring break that was going to Jamaica. This travel study trip goal was to learn more about the educational systems in a different country and building relationships with the boys at Sunbeam.

To be honest, I had no idea what called me to go but I decided to take a risk and sign up! Even today, I look back and I think “what was I thinking before I signed up, that’s totally not like me.”

Wow, all I could say after my first trip was “when can I go back!” it may sound cliché but I came back a different person based on my experience. I not only grew as a person, I broke out of my comfort zone, created relationships with my team members and leaders, and gained a new perspective on life. I had been bitten by the “Sunbeam bug”.

I wanted to stay involved with Sunbeam as much as possible, so I reached out to Mel. I attended the Sunbeam Celebrations, I talked at future travel study meetings about the impact this trip had on me and so on. But through all of this, I wanted more.

In the summer of 2015, myself, two girls from my travel study trip and another college student traveled back down to Sunbeam for the second time. This time, I broke out of my comfort zone even more and decided to stay a month. I gained further connections with the both the boys and staff. I got to see more of Jamaica and be part of the Sunbeam family. I will hold that summer and the memories in my heart forever.

Since that summer, I have remained involved with Sunbeam through many different ways. A friend and myself started a little business selling inspirational quote plaques to fundraise for Sunbeam and raised around $1,200. I helped design the celebration invites, Christmas ornaments, and take pictures. Most recently, I was elected to the SAM Board as one of the youngest members. I am currently the secretary and in charge of all social medias and the website. I also recently just came back from my third trip to Sunbeam! I made a spur of the moment decision and took a place on a team for a member that was no longer able to go. So good to get back to Sunbeam for a week!

I always thought that the only way I could be part of Sunbeam was going there on trips. But I am so happy to continue my love for Sunbeam here in the states. If you would have asked me years ago if I would of saw myself continue to travel to Jamaica to a boys home, I would have said no way. But now, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Sunbeam and the people I have met along the way have truly changed me for the better. The memories I have made will last a lifetime. To just name a few of my favorite memories: having nightly dance parties with the boys when teams weren’t there, walking down to Gutter’s everyday with Kevel to get snacks and just walk around. Working in the Learning Center with the boys, attending youth group, spending time with the staff, and my favorite; going back to Sunbeam the three times and seeing certain boys grow up into young men. I could go on forever, but this post is already long enough.

I truly want to thank all of you that support Sunbeam. If that is either here in the states or in Jamaica. Sunbeam is possible because of YOU! Thank you to the staff for all you do for the boys and thank you SAM Board for your ongoing dedication, thank you.

One of my favorite things is hearing people’s Sunbeam stories. So breaking out of my comfort zone to share mine hopefully inspired others to share theirs. I love sharing the blog posts, so if you would like to share your story, contact me! I am always looking for more Sunbeam Spotlights for the website. Please feel free to email me at

Thank you,

Maureen McCarthy