A Bedtime Promise to Keep

When I was a little girl I remember making wishes and promises at bedtime...sometimes wishing so hard that I would make promises to God to make my wishes come true. My wishes then were simple - a new bicycle, fancy clothes for my Barbie, high marks on a test, all in exchange for promising to practice my piano lessons, to walk the dog without being asked or my weekly promise to start studying for an exam days ahead instead of the night before. As an adult I still make wishes and promises at bedtime and I've learned something. A wish comes from your imagination and a promise comes from your heart.

Now my imagination works overtime and my wishes are not so simple. In fact I have been wishing for the same thing for the past 12 years - that more children on our Pajama Program wait-list will get new pajamas ad books faster than we have been managing - like a million times faster. So my promise now has to be equally hefty ... and it is.

On October 1st we launched the One Million Good Nights nationwide initiative to collect one million new pajamas, one million new books, and the resources needed to get them in the hands of children and adolescents in need here in the U.S. The campaign began Oct 1st which is the start of "Danger Season," when temperatures begin to drop and the children we serve are cold and frightened at night. The campaign continues until December 31, 2015. Thankfully we are not alone in this promise - Carter's, Scholastic ., and Sprout joined us to announce this endeavor. We had an intimate kick-off hosted by Carla Hall here at our NYC Reading Center . The Broadway show ANNIE is helping too by collecting new pajamas and books in their lobby and star Sadie Sink came and sang "Tomorrow" to remind us all that we are making small changes everyday which impact so many tomorrows.

We know that the number of children in need in the U.S. is growing, due to the difficult economic conditions many American families face. All children need and deserve to feel safe and loved at all times, but especially at bedtime. So many of us routinely go about our days and nights without a thought to bedtime. Then we are stopped in our tracks when we find out a child has had to sleep in her old, dirty clothes for a third night in a row. We have to remember that's not how it's supposed to be for any child. It's time for us to make this mega-promise.

The One Million Good Nights campaign will allow Pajama Program to double our current capacity to distribute an additional one million new pajamas and one million new books to reach more children in need throughout the country.

Since our announcement October 1st, so many have been in touch with us to ask how they can help us keep this promise to the children. I know we will keep our promise, I can feel it in my heart.