Flipping fear into invention, metro girl is a finalist for massive prize

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Julia Luetje, 10, is on the verge of turning one of her biggest fears into one of her biggest accomplishments as her invention, the Stormsleeper, is in the running to win a $250,000 grand prize.

“For school we had to make an invention and mine was the Stormsleeper. My mom got me big, bulky pillows and we used some Bluetooth speakers and I just hot glued everything together,’ Julia said.

Julia created the Stormsleeper to help her overcome her fear of thunderstorms. It is a series of pillows with a top cover and features a built-in Bluetooth speaker, a pocket, and reading light. It’s a project that Julia’s mother quickly figured out was the beginning of something much bigger.

“When she figured out that this device really helped her get over that fear of the storms and block out the noise of scary storms and loud noises she then wanted to help others,” Susan Bernstein said.

Susan said Julia spent countless hours after gymnastics and volleyball practices, school plays, and other projects working to perfect her creation. And it’s work that has paid off as the Stormsleeper was one of five submissions chosen out of 13,000.

“That I’m in the Top 5 out of 13,000. That’s crazy because that’s a lot but it looks like just a number because it’s way more than just a number, 13,000,” Julia said.

It’s a project that Chucker Luetje, Julia’s father, said he is proud to see come to life and one he’s even prouder came from his daughter’s heart.

“It is a lot of fun to see her go through this, to see her mature, and the compassion that she had when she started this is really one of the biggest awards of the whole process,” he said.

It’s a competition that Julia wants to win, but what she wants to do even more is to help others face their fears.

“Winning would be crazy because I never would have thought that I would be doing this especially since I’m 10 and helping out other people is just something everyone should do and that’s really kind. It’s exciting to know that it can help other people and that my ideas are coming to life,” Julia said.

Vote for Julia and the Stormsleeper at this link.

You can submit a vote a day until the deadline on November 27th.