Step 1: brush those pearly whites.
Step 2: put on your coziest jammies.
Step 3: pick out your favorite book.
Step 4: curl up under the covers.
Step 5: listen intently to the magic held in stories, fables, and tales.
Step 6: drift off to dreamland.
Sound like last night’s bedtime with your kids?
But for millions of homeless, impoverished, or foster care children throughout America, this bedtime ritual did not exist until Pajama Program was formed to provide underprivileged children with – you guessed it – pajamas and books. We think this bright idea born from founder Genevieve Piturro is simply magical – turning an ordinary pairing of items into a loving bedtime ritual for children in unstable living environments, creating the foundation for a better tomorrow. As the program’s mantra goes, good nights are good days.
“You mean I can keep these for the rest of my life?”
Sparked by a simple question, “What are pajamas?”, from a girl at a shelter she was reading to, Genevieve knew immediately how she wanted to make an impact in the world and formed Pajama Program, a national non-profit organization based in New York, which serves children ages 0 to 18. Since its inception in 2001, Pajama Program has delivered over five million peaceful nights via donations of pajamas and books – basic items that Pajama Program says these children don’t have access to but which can transform bedtime into a ritual of love, warmth, and imagination.
We hope and pray that it just puts their fears aside for a few minutes and lets them dream again. – said Genevieve in a ‘Where Are They Now?’ 2016 recap on The Oprah Winfrey Show after being first featured nine years earlier.
You might be surprised to learn that it’s not just infants and young children in homeless shelters who benefit from Pajama Program; the organization also helps teenage parents who struggle to care for their children, foster children, children of incarcerated parents, and those living below the poverty line.
How to Volunteer with Pajama Program in New Jersey
Pajama Program has over 60 chapters in 33 states – including one right here in New Jersey. Help make that reading of Goodnight Moon and cozy jammies a part of every child’s bedtime ritual. You can get involved by applying to volunteer to read at the Pajama Program Reading Center in Red Bank, donating new pajamas and books, or becoming a sponsor. For a full list of drop-off locations, click here.