When North QLD Cowboys footballer John Asiata isn’t on the field or with his family, you can often find him supporting children in foster care.
As a volunteer with The Pyjama Foundation, John is one of 1400 volunteers providing learning guidance, support and mentorship for kids in care.
This year he’s gone one step further encouraging his community to join forces for National Pyjama Day on July 19.
On this day each year, businesses and schools across Townsville wear their pyjamas to raise vital funds and awareness to support children on the foster care system.
In Townsville, this Program is made extra special with the addition of John, who moves between the homes of different children sharing the joy of sports with them.
One of The Foundation’s Townsville carers detailed just how special the interaction is for her children.
“All the children love spending time with their respective Angels because they feel that they are not being judged but accepted for who they are,” she said.
“A special mention to John Asiata who came out to see the kids. It was a buzz for the kids to have a game of footy with John.
“Toby* is a big fan of the Cowboys. John stayed for some time talking to all the children in our home and they asked a lot of questions and they listened to his stories.
“He is such a lovely individual who makes it that little more special. He is an asset to have on board and I know the kids are thrilled to see him.”
Founder of The Pyjama Foundation, Bronwyn Sheehan says the number of foster children is continuing to grow every year and without extra support, empowerment and encouragement, many of the children’s futures will be compromised.
“Currently there are more than 48,000 children in foster care, and statistics show that more than 30,000 of these children will not complete high school.
“Many children in care bounce from home to home, and to difference schools which greatly hinders their learning.
Funds raised from National Pyjama Day will go towards the recruitment and training of more Pyjama Angels as well as learning resources for the children including books, puzzles and educational games.
Last year more than 1,800 participants donned their Pyjamas and raised a total $250,000. This year we hope to continue growing this number and helping children in need receive the educational support they urgently need.
To get involved, register your workplace, school or group for National Pyjama Day at www.nationalpyjamaday.com.