Pajama Program’s Third Annual Pajama Walk by Andrea Santo Felcone


This past Saturday, my family and I had the pleasure to attend the Pajama Program’s Third Annual Pajama Walk and Family Festival.

Pajama Program Walk

Singer Laurie Berkner, Pajama Program’s Founder: Genevieve Piturro, and Executive Director: Jamie Dyce. Photo credit: Herby Joseph.

It was a gorgeous day (finally no rain!) perfect for walking to support the Pajama Program with the other participants in the Pajama Walk. We arrived in time to see a crowd of participants—a colorful and comfortable-looking bunch wearing anything and everything from Care Bear pajama onesies, to caped Batman nightwear to winged Dinosaur onesies (and that was just the adults)! Corporate teams were present including Target and CBS. Other notable pajamas: the Ralph Lauren navy number a young man was sporting as well as the fur-lined cuffs of a silk robe on a petite, young woman. It was people watching at its finest but with a bigger purpose: All were gathered to support and bring awareness to the Pajama Program—a non-profit with the mission of bringing new pajamas and books to children in need.

 

Pajama Program Walk

Photo credit: Herby Joseph.

The Pajama Program started in 2001 when founder Genevieve Piturro walked into an emergency shelter with a bag of books to read to children. She realized when it was time for them to go to bed, they didn’t have anything to change into—they were going to bed in their clothes. The next time Piturro visited, she brought books and pajamas. She was blown away when one young girl looked at the pajama offerings and asked, “What are these?” From then on, Piturro was a woman on a mission.

Today, Pajama Program has chapters throughout the United States, and works to ensure every child has clean, new pajamas, and new books. Piturro and Pajama Program believe that all children deserve a loving bedtime ritual and a peaceful night’s sleep. All children have “an inherent right to a good night.” To that end, there is even a “Good Night Bill of Rights” on their website that informs what they do.

In previous years, the Pajama Program Walk took place over the Brooklyn Bridge, but Piturro felt that location was too crowded and their message was getting lost. This year the Hudson River Park’s Pier 84 provided a lovely location that seemed perfect for expressing their message and bringing awareness. Nestled between The Circle Line and The Intrepid, the crowd strutted their stuff in their fluffy and cozy pajamas. Although it was a short walk, snacks, waters and juices, and Pajama Program water bottles were provided to all participants.

Pajama Program Walk

Photo credit: Herby Joseph.

After the walk, participants were treated to a concert by popular children’s singer/music star and picture book author, Laurie Berkner. Berkner, sporting her own polka-dotted pajamas, had the crowd dancing and jumping and enjoying her beautiful voice on the sunny day. She has been a supporter of Pajama Program for a long time, even creating a special song for the program. After she performed, Berkner signed and handed out her new book, “Monster Boogie” to eager fans.

The festival continued with face painting, carnival games, a DJ and kids’ catwalk, and a class offered by Yogi Tales (a 30-minute live music yoga experience for preschoolers).

Pajama Program

Laurie Berkner signing her new book, “Monster Boogie”. Photo credit: Herby Joseph.

Pajama Program, over the years, has grown into a vibrant not-for-profit which includes an exciting new venture: a new Reading Center in Atlanta. To learn more about Pajama Program, please visit their website: http://pajamaprogram.org.

Sponsors of the Pajama Program Walk and Festival were: Carter’s, Dreamcloud, GFP Real Estate, Vineyard Vines, Target, Hanes, and Yogi Tales.

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