In 2001, one woman, Genevieve Piturro founded the Pajama Program after reading to children one night at a shelter in New York City. She watched the children go to bed 3-4 to a cot, in the same clothes they had worn for days, without a book to read, or a parent to tuck them in.
Pajama Program provides new pajamas and new books to children in need nationwide, many of whom are waiting to be adopted. A Pajama Program child may live in a group home, shelter, or temporary housing facilities. Many of them have been abused or neglected. Most of these children have never been tucked in at bedtime with warm, clean pajamas and a bedtime story. Their faces light up when we give them the new PJs and books!
Funds raised through the Marathon will help ensure that every child can go to bed with proper sleepwear and a book to read, feeling loved and cared for.
Funds will also bring children to our Reading Center in New York City. Here, children read one on one with our caring volunteers. A reading session lasts approximately one hour, followed by snacks, and the most anticipated part of the session – the presentation to each child, one by one by name, of a specially chosen pair of new pajamas. Each child has the opportunity to choose one book from the bookshelf to take home! The presentation makes the children feel like stars as they wait to hear their names called, and then receive the gift from a volunteer amongst the resounding applause!
The impact of an investment with Pajama Program is profound: More than 92% of our funds go directly to our mission. We have given over 4,000,000 children a new book and a new pair of pajamas. In 2015, over 5,000 children attended our Reading Centers in the New York City area. Our programs enable our children to feel loved and cared for. It gives many of them their first two new items to call their own. It gives them the basic necessities of something to wear at bedtime, and a book to read. It gives them the love of reading through our reading sessions.
NYRR has partnered with Pajama Program and given us a limited number of guaranteed charity entries. If you are interested in obtaining one of these guaranteed entries for the TCS NYC Marathon by fundraising for our cause, please contact Daniel Leventhal at firstname.lastname@example.org or 646-779-0222.