Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pajama Program And A Decade Of Giving


 “Call to Action” to the Nation’s Children to Pay It Forward by
  Holding Pajama Drives, Fundraising Events, and Bowl-a-Ramas for “Danger Season”

Suze Orman noted in her best-selling book The Money Class, “A friend recently made her five-year-old’s birthday party into a pajama party, asking children to come in their PJs and to bring a new set of pajamas instead of a gift. The pajamas were donated to the Pajama Program, a charity that gives new pajamas and books to children in need in the U.S. I thought this was a great idea that created a real opportunity to teach small children about our obligation to help those less fortunate.”

Orman’s not the only one who thinks paying it forward is a great idea. Celebrating a decade of giving, Pajama Program is issuing a Call To Action to the nation’s children to pay it forward by holding Pajama Drives and Fundraising Events to help the non-profit reach its goal of serving 500,000 less fortunate children by year-end.

This year a milestone was reached when the Pajama Program reached the one million mark. The non-profit has given one million new pajamas and books to children in need across the country, helping them feel a little less lost and alone. And Pajama Program has inspired thousands of volunteers of all ages nationwide and by celebrities ranging from Oprah Winfrey to Meredith Vieira, the non-profit has

In schools and communities nationwide, it is often children who have never experienced loss or desperate need who work the hardest to gather as many donations as possible to help bring a smile and some comfort to their less fortunate peers. The Pajama Program’s Call To Action for “Danger Season” has the potential to make a difference in the lives of all the children it touches.

Pajama Program’s mission becomes more urgent during the period it identifies as “Danger Seasonwhen the thermostat dips and the harsh winter months settle in. Starting October 1, Pajama Program works hard to heighten the public’s awareness of the need to keep these at risk children in warm, clean nighttime clothing and with a bedtime book to allay their fears.

To raise awareness of “Danger Season,” the non-profit is having its first-ever “Bowl-a-Ramas for Pajamas” in bowling alleys nationwide on October 1st, asking families and fans of the popular American pastime to hold bowling parties to help collect new PJ’s and new books for children in need. The goal is to help keep at least 50,000 children warm and comforted at bedtime.

Today the Pajama Program operates 79 chapters in 42 states and provides new pajamas and new books to children waiting and hoping to be adopted while living in group homes, shelters and temporary facilities. These children have been through great upheaval and trauma, without exception. Some of the children are living with their families below the poverty level, in desperate need of food, clothing and shelter. Too many have never enjoyed the simple comfort of having a parent tuck them in at bedtime with warm, clean pajamas and a bedtime story.

I couldn't believe what the staff at some of the shelters I visited 10 years ago told me about the children who were brought to them every day and every night. The stories of abuse and neglect were horrifying and heart breaking. I couldn't change what had happened to these children but at least I could give them a pair of warm, clean pajamas to get them through the night,” explains Pajama Program founder Genevieve Piturro.

The books the children read at bedtime go a long way in improving their reading level as well. Most have been removed from school for long periods of time and do not have access to books and their grade reading level is far lower than their peers.

Chapter Presidents across the U.S. identify “Receiving Organizations” in their communities where children in need are living. Together with volunteers, they organize drives and events to provide these youngsters with new pajamas and books. There are more than 500,000 children in the foster care system in the U.S. and more than one million children who are not living with their birth parents. Many children who do have families are living below the poverty level, in desperate need of food, clothing and shelter.

The popular children’s musical artist Laurie Berkner wrote a song titled “Open Your Heart” dedicated to The Pajama Program, and continues to perform it in all of her concerts. The song has increased awareness of the non-profit among children and inspired them to get involved nationwide.

In celebration of  Pajama Program’s 10th Birthday, Scholastic Book Clubs is issuing their third national “call for pajamas” and asking classrooms across the country to participate in their annual Pajama Drive. Scholastic Book Clubs will match every pair of pajamas donated with a book for a bedtime story and will donate a total of 100,000 books in support of the Pajama Program’s 10th Anniversary. Last year Scholastic classrooms collected 90,000+ new pajamas.

Carter’s pajama manufacturer is also a major sponsor for Pajama Program’s  2011/2012 “Danger Season” and Sprout, the 24-hour preschool television channel, is the Pajama Program’s national media partner for “The Great Sprout Tuck-In,” a pro-social initiative that extends Sprout’s “good night” mission and encourages families to share in the spirit of giving.  

The Pajama Program meets the Better Business Bureau's 20 charity standards, the highest ranking for non-profits. For more information visit the website: