June 2018, Atlanta, Georgia – This month marks one year since Pajama Program’s Atlanta, Georgia Reading Center opened its doors to the community. Here, caring volunteers and staff share the love of reading with a child in-person and give the gift of a new storybook and a pair of new pajamas to children and teens experiencing instability and in need of a good night for a good day.
To celebrate the anniversary, a special reception was held on June 13th, exactly one year since the center’s ribbon was cut by Pajama Program’s Founder Genevieve Piturro, First Lady of Georgia, Sandra Deal, and Michael D. Casey, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Carter’s Inc.
To date, the Center has had 1,902 children and teens visit from approximately 30 community partners throughout Atlanta, including Easter Seals Pre Schools, Atlanta Public Schools, Dekalb County Schools, Fulton County Schools, Sheltering Arms, YMCA Summer Camp, Operation P.E.A.C.E, After School Program, Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence.
Pajama Program Reading Centers lay the foundation for a good night. Led by a dedicated staff and volunteers, the Atlanta Reading Center offers a variety of programming for children from preschool through high school. Younger children enjoy the popular Reading Parties, where they are paired with an adult volunteer to spend an hour reading together. This is a time of unconditional love and individual attention from a caring adult. Following a healthy snack at the end of the hour, a small ceremony takes place where each child is presented with a pre-selected new pair of pajamas tied in ribbon with their name.
Showered with applause, the child feels special. Before leaving, each child is invited to select the gift of a new book to take home. Through these connections, the children are better able to express themselves and their feelings. Reading is at the core of every program Pajama Program offers, encouraging creativity and self-expression. This seemingly simple act of reading and spending time with the children has the power to transform their days and nights. To date, there are a total of four Pajama Program Reading Centers nationwide, where more than 10,000 children and teens have participated in programming.
“It’s been an incredible first year and such a joy watching the Atlanta community come together and support these children. The response has been amazing,” said Pajama Program founder, Genevieve Piturro. “Sometimes these pajamas and books are the first new things these children have ever received. They leave the Reading Center with gifts to help transform their reality: new pajamas keep them warm and feeling cared for, and a storybook serves to open their imaginations at bedtime that night, and every night to come.”
Pajama Program supports every child’s right to a loving bedtime and a peaceful sleep through the magical gifts of pajamas and books and by raising awareness around the importance of the bedtime routine. The organization advocates for the good night rights of children nationwide, and serves children in the foster care system, residing in shelters and group homes waiting to be adopted, and those in unstable situations, giving them the magical gifts to support them at bedtime.
To date, Pajama Program has collected and distributed over 6 million pairs of pajamas and books across the United States but there’s more work to be done, and more good nights and good days to be fulfilled.
Proud sponsors of the Pajama Program Reading Center in Atlanta include: Carter’s, Inc., Scholastic, Georgia Natural Gas, The Ganek Foundation, Mannington Flooring, Onsite Wood Work, Alston & Bird, Pinninger Family, U.S. Electric Supply, Virginia and Jim Brooks, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse Atlanta, The Perry Foundation, Baker’s Man, Target, The Elf on the Shelf, The Atlanta Woman’s Club Education Committee and Baker’s Man.
For those interested in volunteering or learning more about Pajama Program Reading Center in Atlanta, Georgia, visit: www.pajamaprogram.org
Pajama Program’s Atlanta Reading Center is located at 475C Bill Kennedy Way, Atlanta, GA 30316