From a wild dream to an Order of Australia

Building your own business is a funny thing… and building your own not-for-profit from the ground up is, well, something else altogether.

You doubt yourself again and again, you worry about all the decisions you have made along the way and you hope like hell that it will all work out.

Until it does… when you look back 17 years later – at the more than 6000 children across the county who each who have their own mentor, because of you.

A Moment of Reflection…

All these children and so many others have been touched, because of you. They have an extra pair of hands to love and support them through all of life’s twists and turns… all because of you.

Reflection is a very special thing, and in the busy day to day grind we often don’t get the chance to do it enough.

It’s the moments when you get to stop and look at the thriving office full of dedicated staff eager to make their own mark on these kids, almost all who are also Pyjama Angel mentors themselves and all who work incredibly hard to ensure we keep growing, thriving and exceeding expectations.

And there’s those other jaw dropping moments, when you receive the call that you are the recipient of an Order of Australia Medal.

It is a recognition that is immediately attributable to our staff who believed in my mission, our supporters who helped keep making connection after connection possible and our growing pool of volunteers whose unwavering commitment to our kids inspires me every day.

I’ve always been a glass half full type of person, eager to make my big ideas possible but all those years ago when I said I wanted to support every child in care in Australia, I definitely wasn’t sure it would ever be possible. But defining moments continue to reignite my commitment to ensuring just that.

How it all began…

The Pyjama Foundation started quite literally around my kitchen table, we had no funding, and the staff member tally was one, Bronwyn Sheehan – sometimes two, if I could drag a friend along of the ride.

The local rag was well and truly in its prime and I used it to recruit my first group of volunteers who I also trained in the comfort of my back deck.

Even in these early days when the naysayers were out in full force there was so many more who believed in what we could do… and this alone was the platform that allowed me to grow and keep on growing.

About a year later, I reached the milestone of hiring my first staff member. A milestone I will never forget, and one of those exact moments that made me breathe a sigh of relief – and think ‘yep, I can do this’.