Support kids in care this tax time

Everyday across Australia, children wake up in warm safe beds, have a healthy breakfast, head off to school in clean clothes and then come home each night to a loving family.  A family who feeds them, helps them with their homework, reads story books to them and most importantly, makes them feel safe and loved.

Unfortunately, in our lucky country, there are over 51,000 children who have not grown up like this.  For these children, their early years have not been warm and safe.  They have gone without food, gone without warm clothes, experienced violence and learnt more about the dark side of life than any child should have to.  Their early years have been full of neglect and trauma and as a result, these children have been removed from their families and placed into care.

Whilst we can’t change what has already happened to these children before they entered the foster care system, we can help to change their futures and give them some positive direction to help them dream big and then realise those dreams.

Support Kids in Care

Our very special Pyjama Angels do exactly this for ‘each and every’ one of the children they are matched with.  They form a very special bond with their child and work tirelessly, week in week out, alongside the foster carers, to bring confidence to these traumatised children, to help them ‘catch up’ at school and to achieve the simple things in life that millions of other children take for granted – things like simply being able to receive a school report card.

With the number of children entering the foster care system continuing to rise rapidly, we desperately need your help to bring the benefits of a Pyjama Angel to many more children in care.

It costs $1,000 for us to help just one child – $1,000 that could mean the difference between that child staying in school, completing their education and having a real chance at a positive life – or that child entering the same cycle of hopelessness that they originally came from.

As we rapidly approach the end of this financial year, please help us to help these children dream big and then have the power to realise those big dreams. Make a tax deductible donation before June 30.

Narissa’s story: how a mentor changed my life

After the loss of her father, Narissa entered the foster care system at just eight years old.

Separated from her mother who struggled with mental illness, Narissa began her life bouncing from home to home, eventually living with six different families throughout her time in foster care.

Now 21, Narissa is sharing her experiences of growing up in foster care to help foster children, and how one special ‘Pyjama Angel’ changed her life.

She lived a life of uncertainty and instability, but through a mentoring program offered by The Pyjama Foundation, Narissa was introduced to Ani Marinovich.

“I was in places where the only person that truly believed in who I was, and what I could do, was Ani, my Pyjama Angel,” Narissa said.

Pyjama Angels are volunteers who are screened, trained, recruited and matched with children in foster care. Together they spend an hour a week focusing on reading, writing and educational-based games.

“Ani helped me build my skills, particularly in English and writing. She was much more than my Pyjama Angel. She was someone who stood up for me, someone who spoke up for me, someone who encouraged me.

“Most of my life I felt very strongly that I was an outcast of some sort, that I was marginalised, and I was,” she said.

Often, it is the guidance and stability of these unique relationships which help these children truly thrive.
“Ani pushed me to see that I was better than what I thought I was – I wanted to be someone who can make a difference, who will change lives. But I didn’t believe I could do that, until Ani told me I could.

“She made a very big difference in my life. I would not be who I am now, without the support and love of Ani,” Narissa said.

The feeling is mutual as former Pyjama Angel, Ani Marinovich believes Narissa made a big impact in her life.

“To realise you’ve made a difference in someone’s life is an honour. Education is like a vital passport to the world. It’s the key to your life’s path, and it’s lifelong. My idea of education is to inspire a love of learning, instil the confidence to believe there is always a way, and belief that dreams are possible to achieve,” Ani said.

“To people considering becoming a Pyjama Angel, I say it will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.”
Narissa is now in her final year of University, studying a Bachelor of Justice, majoring in Criminology and Policing and Law.

The Pyjama Foundation encourages children in foster care to reach their dreams and full potential. To find out more about their Love of Learning mentoring Program, visit: www.thepyjamafoundation.com

Five educational ideas to bust boredom these school holidays

Let’s be frank, we all dread the phrase “I’m booored”, especially during school holidays! With 2 weeks of the school break, the boredom can quickly seep in if your children are not ‘entertained’.

We have put together 5 boredom-busting educational activities ideas you could get your kids involved with during the school holidays that won’t break the bank!

 

  1. Visit your local Museum or Art Gallery
    Visiting Museums and Art Galleries is always a great family outing and is the perfectly opportunity to spend time together having fun learning, exploring and seeing any new exciting exhibitions on display.
  2. Volunteer or teach your kids about giving
    Demonstrate an example of the gift of giving and show them how giving back to the community makes a huge difference. You could visit a nursing home and read books to the older adults. You could donate non-perishable food to the Salvos, or donate clothing to Vinnies!
  3. Reading and writing
    You could make reading and writing a whole lot of fun on the holidays. You can sit down with your kids and write your own story books! Using just a few pages of paper, and some colouring pencils, allow their imaginations to go wild as you plan, write and draw together! You could also get the children to photograph items around the house which you could print out and add to the book! Children love when they are a ‘part’ of a story so you could create something personal and something they’ll really enjoy. Once the book is complete, have a reading night with the family where the kids can show off their work!
  4. Catch the train or ferry for day trips
    Most children squeal at the idea of a bus, train for ferry ride. You could take the opportunity to take the kids to any destination of your choosing – whether it is the park, museum, art gallery, science centre or even your local shopping centre! Be sure to check out timetables for public transport when planning your trip.
  5. Cooking at home together
    Cooking together allows you to spend quality time with the kids while allowing them to learn cooking techniques and methods. Here are our favourite recipes that will surely keep both their hands and brains busy!

Popcorn chicken:

  • 3-4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 2 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts

Method

  • Cut the chicken breasts into small chunks.
  • Sift the flour and mix in the salt and cajun seasoning.
  • Dip the chicken in the egg then generously coat in the flour mixture.
  • Heat the oil in a pan. Drop a few drops of batter into the oil and if it sizzles and fries it is ready.
  • Add chicken to the oil in small batches and turn over to make sure both sides are cooked evenly.
  • Remove and drain on kitchen paper when golden. Leave to drain a moment or two so the chicken is crunchy. Sprinkle salt after to taste.

Three-Ingredient Nutella Brownies:

  • 1 ¼ cup of Nutella
  • 2 Large eggs
  • ½ Cup of all-purpose flour

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a 20cm x 20cm metal baking pan. Add all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix until the batter is smooth. Pour into the baking pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes until toothpick inserted comes our clean.
  • Be careful not to make it for too long, as the brownies will dry out.
  • Let the brownies cool and set before cutting and serving.

Give foster children the gift of reading and writing these school holidays. Donate or become a Pyjama Angel today at www.thepyjamafoundation.com

Brighten a child’s life this Christmas

Christmas is all about spending time with our family and friends, enjoying the festivities and the food and exchanging gifts. For most of us, Christmas brings us a sense of warmth, love and happiness.

Sadly, for many disadvantaged Australian children who cannot live with their own families, Christmas isn’t a joyous time at all.  Many have no happy memories of Christmas – let alone received a present.

This year, you can make a real difference and help brighten the lives of Australian kids living in foster care.

With a small donation, you can give a child in care the best present ever – their very own Pyjama Angel to support them and help make their future a positive and happy one.

At The Pyjama Foundation, our mission is to make children’s dreams a reality; whether they want to be a teacher, engineer or doctor, through helping these kids with reading and writing – our mission is to help little people with big dreams.

With your help and generosity, we can brighten the lives of more children in care this Christmas and into the future.

Kind regards,

Bronwyn Sheehan
Founder and Executive Director
The Pyjama Foundation

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