Good Samaritan Saturday | Pajama Program

“No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” —Aesop

In hopes of talking less and doing more when it comes to helping others, I’ve started a series I’m calling Good Samaritan Saturday. On Saturday mornings, I’ll post a little something you can do to start your weekend out with positive vibes by helping to lift someone else up…

Pajama Program | child with books

In case you’ve been living under a rock lately, or maybe you’re new here—HI!—and you haven’t heard: I’m planning not one, not two but three fundraisers for Pajama Program between today and December 11th.

I came across this organization after creeping around the internet a little to find an organization to give back to this holiday season. I’ve mentioned it plenty of times, but it’s really important to me to teach my girls to be giving and to do my best to shape them into kind humans—which, for the record, they totally are. Having them watch and help and learn more about organizations that are doing good just seems like a really good jumping off point to me.

An organization that gives kids in need books and warm sleepwear to “fulfill every child’s right to a good night” pulls at my heart strings in just about every way imaginable. When I looked into their website a little further and learned the organization was started by a Fordham graduate (go Rams!) who lives right here in Westchester, I was pulled in even deeper. Then I got a chance to speak to Genevieve Piturro, the founder of the organization, and my heart kind of exploded.

Pajama Program | Genevieve Pinturro with pajamas

Pajama Program was never something Genevieve thought she would be doing. In fact, she described it as a “life change on a dime moment.” She was a workaholic in her late 30s who was looking to climb the corporate ladder and not at all interested in starting a family. One day she decided to check in with herself and ask is this enough? She was surprised to find that she was missing something. Not having children had left her with a bigger hole than she thought.

To fill that void, Genevieve started finding shelters with the help of police officers and social workers and reading in them at night once a week. One night she looked into the room where kids were being put to bed and realized that they weren’t being changed into pajamas. The next time she came, she brought a bunch of pjs with her and lined all of the kids up after their story to give them each a pair that would fit. One little girl refused to take them. Once all of the other children had been given a pair, the girl looked up at Genevieve and said “What are pajamas?”

Oooooof.

Genevieve began thinking about her bedtime when she was a child and how it was so safe, and secure, and nurturing. For the kids she was reading to it was a time when their fear, loneliness, and vulnerability was it its worst. Bringing them books and pajamas wasn’t just something material to these kids. It provided comfort and emotional support and showed them that someone cared. Genevieve knew she had to do something. And that’s how Pajama Program was born.

Pajama Program | reading to kidsPajama Program | Genevieve and child

If you’d like to help out this fantastic cause (which helps kids nationwide), you can visit their website for ways to get involved. If you live locally in Westchester or the Hudson Valley, I have three events coming up to benefit Pajama Program:

  • Today, November 21, I’m holding an Open Mat Event (for kids 4 and up) in partnership with The Dance Workshop in Croton-on-Hudson. From 1:30 – 3 your kids can come and tumble their hearts out. There will be teachers on hand to help them perfect anything they might be working on and to show them new tricks. We’ll also be making bookmarks, raffling off autographed books, and collecting books and pajamas. The $10 registration fee will go directly to Pajama Program. For more info you can check out the Facebook event page.
  • On Sunday, December 6th I’m planning a Storytime for a Cause with Local Authors at Peachwave in Mohegan Lake. I have a bunch of authors scheduled for the afternoon and 15% of the proceeds for the entire day will go to Pajama Program. We’ll be making bookmarks and raffling off autographed books here too!
  • Lastly, on Friday December 11th, I’m hosting an open gym at Gymboree Play & Music in Yorktown from 6 – 7:30 for kids 6 and under. Your kids can play for free (and get themselves nice and tired 😉 ). We’ll have a donation box on hand for any pajamas and books you want to donate.

In case you need some extra incentive to go out and do some good, today is Family Volunteer Day! If you take a picture of your family volunteering and upload it to the generationON Family Volunteer Day website, you can win some awesome prizes including one of three $1000 gift cards or one of 10 family night out packages!

Check back on Monday to see how my first event went!

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