Cornetto’s and Paddle Pop’s may be crowd favourites… but for June Thorn, a dedicated Pyjama Angel volunteer, they quite literally changed her life forever.
More than a decade ago, she and her husband owned a small family ice cream truck. They had their usual regulars including one very special Foster Carer.
Each week, as the truck passed, the Carer would run out, beaming with joy to collect her ice creams and share just how fortunate she felt to have her Pyjama Angel support her each week.
Every week she had an extra hour to herself, because of her Pyjama Angel. Each week she could spoil the children in her home with an ice cream, because of her Pyjama Angel.
“One day my husband came home and said ‘you need to do this’ but I’d already cut something out about it from the local newspaper,” June said.
“So it was very much on my mind and I applied that very day because my husband said this woman was super grateful to her Pyjama Angel.”
…and so it began.
“My most special moment was my gorgeous girls graduation from high school… it was moving, it was amazing and out of 600 children, 6 got jobs and I’m so proud to say she was one of them.”
It was 13 years ago now that June started her journey and was matched with a little girl named Justine.
“Justine and I have had a wild ride over the last 13 years,” June said.
“As a little 8 year old she used to lock me out of the house but I persisted and sat on the front verandah until she unlocked the door.”
Their journey hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but every bump in the road is treasured by June and she is so grateful for all of them.
“At the beginning, she wasn’t very verbal but I realised she had lots of imaginary friends, so I started a scrapbook of all of her friends,” June said.
“Slowly she could read the names of her imaginary friends and this became the main way that I could communicate with her talking through her friends.
“We slowly graduated to doing puzzles, she loved Dora the Explorer, then as she got older we’ve taken on Uno, Snakes and Ladders and so much more.”
June followed her all the way through to her high school graduation, she tells us… absolutely beaming from ear to ear.
“She’s just become this beautiful adult and I’m so very proud of her,” June said.
“My most special moment was my gorgeous girls graduation from high school.
“It was moving, it was amazing and out of 600 children, 6 got jobs and I’m so proud to say she was one of them.”
As well as the beautiful relationship June has with Justine, she also shares an incredibly special bond with her family… even spending Christmas Eve together.
“Justine moved homes when she was approximately 11, this home is extremely busy but extremely caring and loving,” June said.
“Her younger foster sibling was bought into the home at 2 days old and I had the honour of meeting her.
“Now for the last 4 years I’ve been her Pyjama Angel as well.”
June is now a big part of this families world and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We have a very special bond and if I’m 2 minutes late I get a phone call asking me where I am,” she said.
“The bond I have with the home and the extended family in the home is just amazing.”
In addition to her Pyjama Angel commitments, June also supports other volunteers as an office volunteer as well as attending all events and providing monetary donations to help us recruit many more Pyjama Angel volunteers.
As humble as ever, she shrugs off her huge commitment and simply just wants more people to have the experience she has.
“Donating is the way forward, I know how much I get out of The Pyjama Foundation and by donating and giving money I can see many other Pyjama Angels getting the fulfillment that I get out of this,” she said.