While most people take clean, warm pajamas for granted, thousands of children right here in the U.S. go to bed each night without them. Instead, they just keep on the same clothes they’ve already worn for too many days and nights—clothes that are soiled, wet, and hardly their size. While volunteering at different shelters, I noticed the children who stayed there went to sleep in their regular clothes. I later learned it was because the children didn’t have any pajamas, and that some of the children didn’t even know what pajamas were. I felt strongly that these children deserved a loving bedtime, complete with pajamas and a storybook, just like I’d had as a child. In 2001, I founded Pajama Program, a nonprofit organization that provides pajamas and books to underprivileged and foster kids to give them the bedtime all children should have.
Scholastic Book Clubs and ClassroomsCare heard my stories and immediately reached out to help. We agreed: Bedtime is an extraordinary time, a time for children to feel safe and to dream of wonderful things that can happen tomorrow, and to dream about what they can be when they grow up. The books complete a nighttime ritual that so many of us took for granted…when Mom or Dad said, “OK, get your pajamas on and I’ll be right in to read you a story.” The children of Pajama Program seldom hear these comforting words. Thousands of them live in orphanages, group homes, and shelters, and are shuffled often between temporary living facilities. They are removed from school at the same time they are removed from a home. Often the books we give them are the only books they will have for months at a time.
Danger Season Brings the Chilling Nights
October 1 marks the beginning of “Danger Season,” the most difficult time for the children we serve. Temperatures drop at night and the children are afraid and lonely. Many of them have been abused or abandoned, and have never enjoyed the simple comfort of a mother or father tucking them into bed in warm pajamas and reading them a magical storybook.
Thank you, Scholastic—you are giving these children their dreams again, dreams of what magic tomorrow may bring and dreams of becoming anything they want to be when they grow up.