11,849 pajamas and counting
By Megan on December 7th, 2012
As part of Scholastic’s global literacy campaign, Read Every Day. Lead a Better Life., we’ve identified organizations that work every day to see that children learn to read, love to read, and have access to books. We call them “Literacy Champions”and we want to acknowledge their hard work here on the blog in our Literacy Champions series.
The Fourth Annual Great Bedtime Story PJ Drive to benefit Pajama Program is underway at Scholastic Book Clubs. In the last three years, classrooms across the country have collected 184,000 pairs of pajamas for donation to Pajama Program, a nonprofit organization committed to providing new books and pajamas to children in need, many of whom are waiting and hoping to be adopted. This year, that number will sail well beyond 200,000!
In 2008, Scholastic Book Clubs made its first book donation to Pajama Program in hopes it would help the program continue to strengthen its literacy mission alongside its humanitarian work . That donation of 7,000 books has grown into a total 500,000 books over the last five years. In 2009, SBC’s support of Pajama Program grew to include the Great Bedtime Story PJ Drive which challenges students in classrooms across the country to collect pajamas with the incentive that Book Clubs will match each pair with a book donation to Pajama Program.
For many underprivileged children, nighttime often means a hard end to an equally hard day. Many go to bed wearing their street clothes…or nothing at all.
It was that realization in 2001 that inspired Pajama Program Founder and Executive Director, Genevieve Piturro, to begin the work of making a better bedtime for thousands of children. She tells the story like this:
“I visited a Center in Harlem for children with no fathers and whose mothers are in prison. I brought twelve pairs of pajamas. As the children came into the room, each chose the pair he or she wanted. After a few minutes, one little girl came over to me.
“What are these?” she quietly asked
“They’re pajamas,” I answered.
“Where do I wear them?”
“To bed at night.”
She looked at me, puzzled.
“What do you usually wear to bed?” I asked her.
“My pants,” she said quietly.
It was then I knew I had found my true purpose in life and it drives me day and night.”
Today, Pajama Program has 63 chapters in 40 States and operates three (3) Reading Centers in New York City, Yonkers, NY, and Red Bank, NJ. Since 2001, Pajama Program has donated over one million pajamas and books to children nationwide.
For more information, visit www.pajamaprogram.org.
Anyone who helps a child to read is a Literacy Champion in our book, and we invite you to join our growing list of people committed to supporting childhood literacy. You can also support a Literacy Champion near you—browse a full list on our Read Every Day Lead a Better Life. site.
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