08/23/2012 06:19 pm ET Updated Oct 23, 2012

To Dream and Belong

On the wall above my desk hangs an inspirational sign that says:

"She would hope and wish and dream, but the day that she undoubtedly believed, nothing was the same because everything was possible."

This sign was given to me several years ago by my special friend and co-worker Terri. She believes she gave it to me because it applies to my belief in Pajama Program , but there is a second meaning in it for me. When I read the sentiment I think of all the dreams I keep in my heart for the children we serve. Is it naive to think nothing will be the same for these children once they feel the love all of us have for them? That their pain and sadness will magically disappear when our surprise gifts deliver joy and hope, injecting solace straight into their hearts to melt away their sorrow?

Maybe it is naive, but it's what keeps us all going -- it keeps us focused on working as hard as we can to fill boxes and boxes with new pajamas and books for our children every day. We're sending gifts that carry wishes for them to find more than a warm princess nightgown or Spiderman PJs in the box. We're sending wishes for them to find friendship with other children, acceptance among adults and recognition in our world.

Will things change for them? Is everything possible if they can dream?

My answer is yes, because I believe what the children tell us all the time...

"I'm going to be a great reader when I get bigger!"
"When I got the pajamas I felt special!"
"I like pajamas becaus(e) they let you be worm (warm)"
"I feel great because of the kind thing's you did for us."
"I like to read books because I can learn new things and see different kinds of pictures."
"I write in my journal at night because it makes me feel like I can go to my own little world, like I can be anything I want to be."
"I like pajamas because I like them."

Ethan is five-years-old and he summed it all up:

"I feel happy because I like these pajamas and they look fancy on me. I like to read books because it helps me remember words."

In these boxes we send out everyday stuffed to the rims with pajamas and books, we are also packing love, tenderness, affection, hope and a very big dream from all of us. A dream for each child to believe she can do anything, be anything, be happy, and most importantly belong.