IMPACT
01/28/2016 10:48 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Who Knew What We Would Find

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Unexpected turns of fate happen every day ... One day something propels us off our path and we find ourselves in a whole new world ... something we never thought would happen does, and we wouldn't change it for the world. Not all accidents are unfortunate. Not every chance encounter is fleeting.

One random evening in 2001 I met a little girl who changed everything in my life. And thankfully, it was she who subsequently compelled so many of us to ban together to make bedtime a better time for millions of underserved children here in the U.S. Together we discovered an invisible need, a hole, in the lives of these very special children. Inadvertently we began to unveil a most vulnerable time for them, hidden to most of us. We began to see what was buried in their bedtimes. Why they toss and turn under the sheets, why they try to hide under the covers.

Through our One Million Good Nights campaign we discovered multilayered issues these children are harboring in the dark and we see more clearly how concealed and disguised these issues are. In the past 15 years we have heard more bedtime stories than we could have ever imagined - and they are not the kind of stories you want to read to your children as you tuck them in at night. But they are true stories of what these at-risk youth are dealing with and thinking about as they toss and turn, trying to fall asleep, begging for a respite from their anxiety-laden days in a rare and happy dream. We must now, and together, look deep into their chasm and find a way to bring these children up, embrace them and show them how to look forward with hope. They need to know it is not always dark. They need to feel the warmth of the light.

Sometimes an unexpected clash of worlds begins to unravel a disturbing issue behind closed doors, and now and then providence enters with a key. Who knew we'd find that key under the covers?


(Thank you to every individual, corporation and foundation who made One Million Good Nights possible especially Carter's and Scholastic. Your compassion and generosity is overwhelming. Thank you to every caregiver who shared your stories. It is with your compassion and assistance that we are able to understand the myriad of emotions reeling in the children's minds and help you to lead them to a safe place.)