Sunday Mail Column for Sunday 2 May 2010: FIRST SUNDAY CLUB
There’s a lot you can get away with on a Sunday. Sleeping in (unless, like me, you have a toddler who wakes at 5.50am every morning and yells through the bars of her cot like an disgruntled inmate until someone frees her). The all-day-breakfast. Perfectly acceptable on a Sunday to announce you feel like eating hashbrowns at two in the afternoon. And then there are the pjs. On a Sunday nobody blinks twice when you say, “I’ve been in my jim-jams all day”. Announce this on a Tuesday and it doesn’t go down so well.
It’s pjs that lead me to this week’s column. It’s the first Sunday in May, which means it’s the First Sunday Club. This month the charity I’ve chosen is a personal favourite: the Pyjama Foundation.
The Pyjama Foundation is an organisation dedicated to helping improve the literacy rates of children in foster care. Wrap your head around these stats:
92% of children in foster care are below the average reading level at age seven
35% of foster kids enter the juvenile justice system at some point (82% of Australian prisoners have below grade 4 level of functional literacy)
So the Pyjama Foundation send “Reading Angels” into the homes of foster kids. These Angels quite simply read stories to the children and introduce them to the joy of books.
This month the Pyjama Foundation is launching a new initiative: a pyjama drive. Over the next two months they’re aiming to give each of the 31,000 kids in foster care a new pair of pyjamas.
So what? What most of us don’t realise is that children entering a foster home often arrive with nothing but the clothes they are wearing. No toothbrush, no toys, no clothes. To have a brand new pair of kids’ pyjamas is actually incredibly special.
Pyjama Foundation Founder, Bronwyn Sheehan, explains.
“One particularly hot January I met a little boy who had just entered foster care. He was wearing winter clothes and had a plastic bag of winter clothes as his only possessions. These clothes covered the bruises on his arms and legs. He was eighteen months old. His carer was going to take him out shopping for new clothes, but I had heaps (from my own kids) that had barely been worn. I went home and collected clothes, books and toys for this little boy. His carer was so appreciative. It really sent home to me how little these children have and how easy it is to make a difference for them.”
So this month I’m giving you a choice. Donate your $10 online at www.thepyjamafoundation.org.au or by mail. OR buy a brand new pair of either summer or winter children’s pjs (from 0000 to adult size) and send them to PO Box 32, Lutwyche QLD 4030.
And of course the Pyjama Foundation is looking for schools and businesses to act as collection points for their Pyjama Drive. If you can help email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Over the past 25 years Rebecca Sparrow has earned a living as a travel writer, a television publicist, a marketing executive, a magazine editor, a TV scriptwriter, a radio producer, a newspaper columnist and as an author.