I can’t begin to thank each and every one of you enough for your continued generosity at all of my café collection points across the country. Each quarter, I collect all of the donations from every café, total it up and match the amount 100% to the final penny! Then I get to do the super fun big check presentation to a hand-select non-profit organization.
I just love seeing the big, bright smiles when I present the big checks. My most recent check presentation was to the Pajama Program at my Mid-City store at the Midtown Crossing Shopping Center in Los Angeles in February.
Genevieve Piturro, the founder of the Pajama Program, accepted a check for $60,000. WOW! Give yourselves a big pat on the back for this tremendous donation!
Good Nights Are Good Days
The Pajama Program believes strongly that every child has the right to a good night. However, not every child gets to end their night cuddling up in a pair of cozy pajamas with a good book. The Pajama Program wants every child to feel the love and security that enables peaceful sleep. “We provide our magical gifts of new pajamas and new books to these children because they have a right to a good night,” explained Piturro.
“They’ve been in shelters, they’ve been abused, they’ve been just passed around and moved and not had security and comfort and a lot of times have not had a constant adult who really cared for them, overseeing their bedtime, their wake-up time,” said Piturro.
A loving bedtime ritual is the first step in what the Pajama Program calls “The 24-hour Good Day Loop.” The loop is based on the idea that a good night leads the way to restful sleep, an optimistic day to ultimately help children reach their full potential.
Good Night Bill of Rights
The Pajama Program developed five simple principles to help guide communities everywhere to facilitate a loving bedtime and a quality night’s sleep for children.
- 1. Every child has the right to a sense of stability and security
- 2. Every child has the right to feel loved and cared for at bedtime
- 3. Every child has the right to wear fresh, clean pajamas to bed and enjoy a bedtime story that fires their imagination
- 4. Every child has the right to feel valued and validated as a human being
- 3. Every child has the right to a good night and a good day
What do Pajamas Represent?
Time to turn back the clock to 2001 when Piturro was climbing the corporate ladder and the thought of starting a non-profit hadn’t even crossed her mind yet – until one fateful day.
“I heard a voice literally ask me, if this is the next 30 years of your life, is this enough?”, recalled Piturro. “I really realized in that moment that I thought I missed something, a really important part of my life.” A single woman in New York City at the time, Piturro didn’t have any children in her life, didn’t have a family and wasn’t sure how to change her current situation.
“I finally thought, maybe I could read to children in shelters,” said Piturro.
After a few phone calls, she found a shelter to read at, grabbed a few books and she was on her way.
One night she decided to take a peek at where the children were sleeping. She recalls a sterile room with futons and flat surfaces. “It wasn’t the bedtime the way I knew it,” said Piturro. “There was no changing of pajamas, there was one to a bed, there was a couple to a flat surface, some of them were crying – it was heartbreaking.”
Piturro knew she had to do something so she asked if she could bring the children pajamas. The staff said that wouldn’t be a problem so Piturro went on a shopping spree for new pajamas and returned for her next visit with a bag full of comfy surprises for the children.
She lined the kids up and one-by-one she reached into her bag and gave each child a new set of pajamas. The children were so happy to receive their gift…. that is for one little girl.
“She was so quiet, and when I went to give her, her pajamas she just shook her head and didn’t want them,” said Piturro. Despite not wanting a pair of pajamas, the young girl with clothes that were too short for her and ponytails that were uneven, remained near Piturro to watch her hand out the rest of the pajamas.
After all of the children had received their pajamas, Piturro turned to the young girl and presented here with a pair of pink pajamas. “These are for you, these pajamas will fit you,” said Piturro.
“Would you like them?”
The young girl stared at Piturro and muttered a simple response.
"What are they," she said.
I had to explain pajamas to this little girl and that was the beginning of the end of the career and the beginning of doing whatever I could [to help the children]," said Piturro.