The Pajama Program of New York has existed since 2001 when the programs founder, Genevieve Piturro was reading to children in a homeless shelter and realized that the children were going to bed every night in the same clothes they had worn all day. They had no soft, comforting pajamas to sleep in; pajamas or books to call their own. With this simple realization, Ms. Piturro started the Pajama Program enlisting others to donate pajamas and books to local shelters sharing love and hope to the less fortunate.
As the organization grew, so did their partnerships with needy organizations, and in turn with local organizations to assist the local needy organizations. Erie High School, National Honor Society (NHS) chapter, is a local organization who has been involved in this project for two years now. Mrs. Andrea McConnell, Reading and RTI instructor, brought this program to Erie 11 years ago realizing that the statement from the Pajama Program motto “Good nights lead to good days.” is indeed true.
With that thought McConnell started soliciting pajamas and books. This year through the generosity of the students, staff, and community members a total of 144 new pairs of pajamas and 62 new books were donated.
Pajama Program Executive Director, Jamie Dyce, has already responded with a thank you note to McConnell and the NHS for working on this program. “The donations received are helping to support children from infancy to age 18 who are affected by instability, whether they are living at home, in group homes, foster home or shelters.” The recipient of our donations will be the Bethany Home for Children and Families, a partner with the Pajama Program.
Our donation is being enhanced even further as McConnell is the recipient of a matching Scholastic Book Grant which will donate an additional 62 books to Bethany Home.
Nightly rituals like clean pajamas and a good story help comfort and inspire the children, transporting them to a place that allows them to forget all the unpleasant things they encounter in their lives on a daily basis. It is with this thought that we thank all who donated to this years successful drive providing the recipients, we hope, with the ability to see a different life altogether. A life where total strangers cared enough to show unconditional love.
Shown here are some of the NHS members with just a few of the pajamas and books collected for the Pajama Program. In total 131 pairs of pajamas and 62 books were collected.
Seated L-R: Jeremy Huizenga and Josh Hammer Standing L-R: Travis Coleman, Jasmine Nickerson, Calvin Naftzger, Gabe Friedrichsen, Abby Stichter, and Brett VanDeWostine.