Aly Raisman Gave Back to a Local Homeless Shelter

She helped mothers and children get a good night’s rest.

Photo by Josh Jason

Needham native and Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman gave the gift of a good night’s rest to single mothers and children at Dorchester’s Heading Home shelter.

Leesa, a mattress company that donates one mattress for every 10 sold, partnered with the gymnast to bring brand new custom-made mattresses to the shelter. Raisman was on hand for a donation ceremony Tuesday.

Sleep is just so important. It helps you be the best version of yourself that you could possibly be,” Raisman says. “I think it’s also important to teach these kids from a young age that it’s really important to get a good night’s sleep.”

Elsa Cipriani, the director of family services at Heading Home, says families will be able to take the mattresses with them once they leave the facility for a home of their own. She also praised Raisman for helping to raise awareness about the unique issues affecting the shelter’s residents.

“We always want some attention for our families,” Cipriani says. “This is an opportunity for us to raise awareness of the many struggles of our families.”

Raisman says she hopes to continue working with Leesa, and helping children in the community. “The kids are the future,” she says. “Any way you can help them become more loving and accepting is important.”

Love and acceptance are crucial themes for Raisman, and concepts she says she’ll explore in her upcoming book Fierce, which will let fans see parts of her personality—like her struggles with body positivity and social media—that are often kept under wraps.

“With social media and all the attention on the Olympics, you’re often afraid to share parts of yourself because you’re worried what people are going to think of you,” she says. “For the first time, I’m trying to not worry about what people think and just say, ‘This is who I am.'”