Community

See what’s happening in our community! Meet some of our Foundation Family and look at how we can support those around us!

Making Maths Fun! Number Games for Kids of All Ages

It takes a village (or a North Queensland town…)

PEOPLE need people. Especially during times of great hardship and adversity. As COVID-19 is a continued presence in Australia we continue to see more and more communities band together to create light from such darkness.

Annually, The Pyjama Foundation celebrates its biggest fundraising event, National Pyjama Day. This year, planning and preparation has looked so different for registrants as they work to make their events happen in and around government restrictions. However, one thing that hasn’t changed, is their fierce passion to support The Pyjama Foundations mission to make a difference to the lives of children in care.

Margaret Milani is a seasoned veteran as far as National Pyjama Day is concerned. Backed by her colleagues at The Commonwealth Bank and the wider Innisfail community, they have hosted the Innisfail Annual Pyjama Party for four years running.

Margaret says the support keeps growing each year. Margaret was confident that this year’s celebrations would defy all odds. “Due to the COVID crisis it has been easier than usual for people to see the benefits in having something like this in our community,” she said.

Teamwork was in full swing to get everything organized before the 24th of July. Margaret describing the process as ‘footwork’. With the help of her colleagues save the date flyers were created, the streets of Innisfail were walked to get business’ onboard and the locals were informed via social media.

There was overwhelming support from local business and their customers in and around the Owen St precinct. The Commonwealth Bank, Woolworths, Optus, the Mellick Homemakers Centre, Retreat Beauty salon and the Sapore Di Italia café were among the many passionate registrants. A true reflection of community spirit!

We warmly thank these businesses and their customers for their generous participation and contribution.

“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about!” – Margaret J. Wheatley.

Margaret sees the opportunity to celebrate National Pyjama Day each year as way to unite and contribute to a cause that the community considers so special. “I cannot even begin to put into words how amazing it feels to help kids in your own community and to just be part of something bigger than yourself and your own problems.”

The 2020 Innisfail Annual Pyjama Party had its largest turnout yet, raising an outstanding $2,600! The Pyjama Foundation is so grateful for your continuous passion, enthusiasm and generosity. We just know 2021 will be bigger and better!

Warm oven, warmer heart: Stacey’s desire to defy odds and make a difference this Pyjama Day.

AS Australia continues to brave the COVID-19 storm, community spirit and kindness can be just as contagious, as we continue to cope with these unprecedented circumstances.

The Pyjama Foundation has been preparing for its biggest annual fundraiser, National Pyjama Day, celebrated on July 17th. The aim of the day is to raise as much awareness and funds for the Love of Learning Program, so The Pyjama Foundation’s mission can continually be pursued.

This year’s planning has looked very different for us and our registrants. Many obstacles have crossed our path as we discovered new and inventive ways to fundraise. CEO and founder Bronwyn Sheehan said absolutely loves how innovative people are being during these unparalleled times.

Melbourne Pyjama Angel, Stacey Lowry is back celebrating National Pyjama Day for a second time, defying all odds in her pursuit to make a difference.

Stacey has been working with “Miss 14” for two years. She says she just loves her mentoring role; it is one of the most rewarding things she has ever accomplished.

Stacey was conscious that the option of hosting a social gathering wasn’t available this year due to Melbourne’s strict lockdown laws.

“Last year I had so much fun hosting a dinner and movie screening to raise funds, I just knew I had to step it up with something even better to bring some love and happiness during these uncertain times,” she said.

With the intention of bringing joy to her local neighbourhood all while raising funds for a cause she is so passionate about; Stacy exercised her imagination.

“I have been baking handmade sourdough breads & sourdough banana breads for my friends.  It’s been so hugely successful, that I am at my “baking capacity” for the next three weeks… Each day I bake, wrap and walk the neighbourhood hand delivering warm, baked treats to my friend’s front doors. It brings me so much joy seeing smiling faces at front doors across the suburb.”

Stacey continues to work with “Miss 14” on a week-to-week basis virtually all while channeling her inner Betty Crocker!

Stacey, The Pyjama Foundation would like to thank-you for your fierce passion, contribution and commitment to National Pyjama Day and your work with “Miss 14”.

Please continue to let your light shine!

Fostering change: Behind Floriana’s desire to help children in care

As we find ourselves living through an unexpected and uncertain circumstance, I think it is so necessary to acknowledge and express gratitude for what brings love and light to our lives. 

This was the exact mindset that prompted me to embrace the unknown and try something completely new. In April of 2019 a significant chapter in my life closed, I found myself experience emotions I never thought possible (including that ugly demon heartbreak). I have always been somebody who embraces a challenge, craves opportunity and has a generous nature. However, at this point in my journey I felt completely deflated.

I distinctly remember a phone call had with a dear friend, former Pyjama Angel, Melissa Caccamo.

My gorgeous friend Melissa (pictured left)

Her words felt like sunshine.
She said “Flo, you need to find a way to divert all the love, positive energy and time you were feeding your relationship into something just as worthwhile’.

My friend reminded me of all the positive qualities I had to share with the world but had momentarily forgotten in the midst of sadness. Mel encouraged me to apply as a Pyjama Angel, give back to the community and be a ray of sunshine for a child who needed to be reassured that they are valued, worthy and loved.

Thank you for being my ray of sunshine that day and everyday Mel.


Without hesitation I applied that following day. Not long after I had my interview and attended training. I was shocked by the statistics around poor literacy and numeracy skills among children in care. However, I was more so enlightened, that spending only one hour a week with these children would help carve a positive outlook for their future.

Along the way I interacted with such passionate, likeminded and wholehearted individuals. The whole process just felt right. I knew that this was going to be such a special experience and I hadn’t even met my little cherub yet!

Typically, one Pyjama Angel is paired with one little person. However in light of embracing opportunity I was offered a dynamic duo, two brothers! I was paired with who I now like to call ‘Crazy number 1’ (aged 12) and ‘Crazy number 2’ (aged 9). I organically became ‘Crazy number 3’ (aged 23!).

My relationship with K&J began in August 2019 and the fun hasn’t stopped since!

Together we have;

  • Planted a vegetable patch

    My ‘magic bag’ of resources!

  • Made slime
  • Tackled puzzles and board games
  • Kicked the soccer ball outside
  • Read, researched and presented projects on their hobbies and interests
  • Completed homework (after lots of convincing!) and sometimes;
  • We just dance and sing like total crazies!

 

On a personal level, my passion for the non-for-profit sector and working with children has grown fiercely strong. I am also currently involved with The Pyjama Foundation team, working as a Marketing and Communications Assistant/Intern. This entire experience has prompted me to consider a return to university to study Youth Work. To nurture what I believe is my true calling!

Fostering a relationship with K&J has brought nothing but colour to my world. It helped turn such a dark and uncertain time into an incredible discovery of growth and opportunity. I feel grateful to be able to help these boys find a happier ending to their life story.


I thank The Pyjama Foundation for choosing me.

F xx

Townsville Pyjama Angel volunteer honoured for impact during Volunteer Week

AFTER five years of unwavering dedication to The Pyjama Foundation, Townsville resident Susanne Gardner has been honoured in the 2020 Volunteering North Queensland Awards.

Sue took out the Volunteer Impact Award category, for her work touching the lives of more than 600 people throughout the Townsville community.

An extremely deserving acknowledgement for a woman who not only dedicates time every week to support a child in foster care, but is also fundamental in keeping The Foundation’s resource library organised for other volunteers, as well as acting as vice president of the Townville Toy Library, secretary of the Probus Club and volunteer at St Joseph’s Catholic School The Strand.

North QLD coordinator Mel Vaughan said above all Sue is an incredibly beautiful person who has a quiet wisdom and listens to the stories of others without judgement.

“We have a wide range of volunteers, from a range of backgrounds. Sue welcomes everyone into our Foundation with a smile. She has a quiet, calm presence and is a joy to be around,” she said.

Sue began her journey by training as a Pyjama Angel volunteer in 2016 and was initially placed with an 8- year-old boy to support him in building learning, life skills and confidence.

This little boy moved out of Townsville but that wasn’t going to be the end of Sue’s journey.

“His carer loved Sue so much she asked her the following week to continue visiting another child in her home,” Mel said.

“Of course, Sue agreed. Sue’s weekly visits help one little vulnerable girl know that she is special, loved and has opportunities- which is priceless.”

The award presented to Sue is part of 2020 National Volunteer Week celebrations occurring across the country.

Volunteering North Queensland’s acting manager Natalie Dukes said National Volunteer Week is an opportunity when we, as a North Queensland community, publicly thank, acknowledge and celebrate our wonderful volunteers.

“Throughout the nominations received for the four awards this year, there was such a strong theme of empowering others to make a difference.

Click here for more information about becoming a Pyjama Angel or to apply.

Townsville Grammar School gets wacky and tacky for kids in care

Students from Townsville Grammar School have held a Wacky Tacky fundraiser in support of The Pyjama Foundation. Together they raised more than $600 to support children in out-of-home care.

Students and staff dressed up in their wackiest outfits for the last Friday of Week 8. Everyone was encouraged to wear bright clothes and bring even brighter smiles. The school community certainly delivered, with glitter and neon outfits to boot.

Townsville Grammar School captain of the junior school’s community service team Chloe Langtree organised the event. With the help of her fellow students, Chloe passionately got her school community board as a way to give back to her community.

“I chose to support the Pyjama Foundation, because I found what they did really helped the community.

The volunteers don’t get paid, and yet they turn up to help children in need,” she said.

“A Foundation like this one definitely deserves a cheer, and they have my full support. Dedicating fundraiser to them was a way of showing it.”

Townsville Grammar assistant head of junior school Chris Gray said it is important to foster  sense of community as part of the culture of the school.

He also acknowledged the need for students and staff to have fun and bring “laughter and smiles” to the school community.

“The last couple of years have been particularly more about FUNraising as we had the flood last year and now COVID-19,” he said.

“Days like these also go a long way to bind us together as a School community and to build on the sense of pride we have for each other and our School.”

If you’d like to find out more about holding a fundraising event to support The Pyjama Foundation, please click here.

Santa swaps his sleigh for a limousine to visit Brisbane children in care

High profile celebrities are usually seen riding around in Premier Limousines’ luxury limousines, but this past Christmas some very special children were lucky enough to take a ride instead.

For many carers, Christmas can place a severe financial strain on their families; with many caring for upwards of five children at any one time. Carers so desperately want to ensure each and every child in their home is overwhelmed with joy on Christmas morning, as it’s often the reality that these children may have never experienced this magic before.

Each Christmas, The Pyjama Foundation team collects presents from generous community groups which are then given to children participating within its Love of Learning Program. This year they have teamed up with the very generous Premier Limousines to make Santa’s final visit before the big day extra special.

Our founder Bronwyn Sheehan said she’s proud to offer this special experience for these families this Christmas.

“It’s so amazing that we’re able to not only surprise these children with the appearance of Santa at their homes but also take them for a ride in a limousine, something they may never have the chance to do again,” she said.

WHY WE DO IT

Ms Sheehan said she wishes she could do so much more, with the number of children in care rapidly growing.

“Currently there are more than 48,000 children in foster care, and statistics show that approximately 75 per cent of these children will not complete high school,” she said.

“Many children in care bounce from home to home, and to difference schools which greatly hinders their ability to build relationships and meet learning milestones.”

The Pyjama Foundation recruits, screens and trains volunteer mentors, and then carefully matches them with a child in care.

Together, they focus on learning-based activities and games, with the aim of improving the child’s educational outcomes and confidence. Currently we are mentoring more than 1,400 children on a national scale with the hopes of expanding its reach in 2019.

To hire your own limo and feel like a star for an upcoming event or special occasion, check out our friends at Premier Limousines for a comfortable ride of luxury.