|Doing Good Together Newsletter|
Kids love pajamas. They are cozy and fun to wear, whether covered with Batman, Superman or flowers. Not to mention pint-sized nightgowns and pjs with feet. The very basic joy that pajamas bring is the idea behind the Pajama Program. It involves collecting pajamas for kids who are in need of comfort, and is a cause all children can embrace. It could be an easy way to bring some fun and meaning to your family's summer.
Jenny Friedman, Executive Director
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Photo: Pajama Program
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Photo: What You Never Knew About Beds, Bedrooms, & Pajamas (Around-the-House History)
"Life is made up, not of great sacrifices or duties, but of little things, in which smiles, and kindnesses, and small obligations, given habitually, are what win and preserve the heart and secure comfort."
Humphrey Davy, English chemist, 1778-1829
It all started three years ago, when Zac Olson was a 6-year-old kindergartner. He and his mom, Courtney, were watching Oprah during Zac's spring break. That particular afternoon, Oprah Winfrey was talking to Genevieve Piturro, founder of the Pajama Program, a nonprofit organization that provides new pajamas and books to children in need. Piturro described how much it meant for children in foster care to receive a new pair of pajamas and Zac, who is adopted himself, was immediately intrigued - and concerned. He wondered why some children don't have permanent homes. And because "Zac is a kid who would be in his pajamas all day long if you let him," Courtney says, he couldn't imagine not owning a pair. He was immediately inspired to help.
Zac asked if he could pick out a pair of pajamas to donate, and Courtney readily agreed. While they were at Target selecting just the right pair, Zac began wondering how many more kids he could help if he asked his classmates to donate pjs as well. That day he set a goal of collecting 30 pairs, and wrote a letter to his fellow students at JFK Elementary in Lakeville, Minn., requesting donations. His teacher agreed to distribute the letter, and soon Zac had collected 63 pairs of pajamas, from red-striped flannel to dinosaur-themed sets.
The next year Zac asked everyone in the school to donate. Soon other Twin Cities schools were inviting him to come talk about the project - and the Minnesota chapter of the Pajama Program was born. (Because of Zac's interest, his grandmother actually led the state chapter for a couple years.) Minnesota has now donated over 10,000 pairs of pjs to children in need.
Zac, who is introverted by nature, graciously accepts invitations to speak to school groups and has grown increasingly comfortable spreading the message to children and adults, Courtney says "It's been a real leadership experience for him," she says. "He's had to come out of his shell." For her part, Courtney follows Zac's lead - going along when he's invited to speak, buying materials so he can create signs promoting the program, and supporting him as his ideas - and the projects - grow.
Doing Good Together needs your help! If you can spare some time to devote to our organization, please email us. We are looking for: