I remember as a child loving to visit my friends' houses. Sleeping in someone else's home was a treat. Now I can't help but wonder how many of the children we see at Pajama Program wish for a mundane routine in a home of their own.
As the children came into the room to sit and read with me, I gave each one a pair of pajamas. One little girl wouldn't take pajamas from me. She stood perfectly still, looked up at me, and asked in a whisper, "What are these?"
Laura and her young friend Maurice, shared meals at the start of their relationship, but it wasn't until an impromptu conversation about lunchtime did Laura learn the true meaning of a brown bag lunch.
Many of the girls in the group homes have been moved often. They've been taken away from their natural homes, sometimes shuffled between relatives and then foster homes. A group home can be just another stop for them.
Pajama Program exists for a very simple reason: it reflects the child that lives within all of us, the child who is desperate for love, to belong, to matter to someone, even just to snuggle up on someone's lap.
In 10 years I can say a lot has surprised me. But what strikes me as unforgivable every single day is that thousands of children never enjoy the simple comfort of having a mother or father tuck them in at bedtime with warm, clean pajamas and a bedtime story.