Spotlight: The Pyjama Foundation and KARI

KARI has been working with The Pyjama Foundation to help our children and young people in care with their numeracy skills.

Who is The Pyjama Foundation?
The Pyjama Foundation was founded in 2004 to make a positive impact on the lives of our community’s most vulnerable children. Alarmed at the statistics highlighting the poor literacy and numeracy levels of children in care, and how this contributes to a lifetime of disadvantage, Founder Bronwyn Sheehan was determined to make a difference. Bronwyn developed a program to ease some of the pressures on foster carers and empower these children to achieve positive outcomes.

“Over the past ten years, The Pyjama Foundation has trained more than 4000 volunteers to help brighten the lives of children through the Love of Learning Program,” said Rosie O’Malley, Sydney Volunteer Coordinator, The Pyjama Foundation.

The Foundation also has a resource library in every region where volunteers can borrow books, games and resources to take to the children each week. This is a free service.

KARI has a number of children and young people actively engaged with the Foundation, who each benefit immensely from its Love of Learning Program.

“Research indicates that many children in care have poor physical health, socio-emotional well-being and cognitive and learning outcomes in comparison to their peers,” said O’Malley.

“Ninety-two per cent of children in care have below average reading skills by the time they are seven years of age, and it is a struggle for them to catch up,” she continued.

The Foundation’s Love of Learning Program is an effective solution, as it supports children in care to form and sustain healthy adult attachments, relationships, gain improved educational success and increase their confidence and love of learning.

How does it work?
The Love of Learning Program involves matching one adult with one child. They screen and train its volunteers, called ‘Pyjama Angels’. The Pyjama Angels are matched with a child in foster care, they visit the same child every week, for 1.5 hours to read books aloud, play educational games and work on their numeracy skills. The volunteers help children develop their learning skills and perhaps more importantly, demonstrate that the child is valued as an individual.

Impact
Since its inception ten years ago, The Pyjama Foundation has inspired many members of its community nationally to become volunteer Pyjama Angels, transforming the lives of children in care through literacy, numeracy and mentoring. Currently, 1,128 children in care are involved in the Love of Learning Program. The relationship which forms is fantastic, the children are often waiting on the footpath for their Pyjama Angel to arrive. Some volunteers have been with their child for eight years.

Quick stats

  • The Pyjama Foundation is providing 62,100 hours per annum to mentor and support children in care
  • Pyjama Angels read 81,000 books to children in care each year99% of
  • Pyjama Angels report that they have a good relationship with the child they mentor
  • More than 84% of Pyjama Angels believe that the areas where they have seen the most positive change since mentoring, have been the child’s ability to concentrate on a task or activity and children’s general positive attitude towards learning
  • 83% of Pyjama Angel have observed an improvement in the child’s reading

Can you help?
The Pyjama Foundation are always on the lookout for more volunteers.

“The more children we have placed in our program the more case workers refer new children.” said O’Malley. “They see the positive impact an Angel can make on a child and they want that for all the children they look after.”

Currently, the Foundation’s greatest need is for more Angels in the Western and South West suburbs of Sydney.

If you’re interested in becoming a Pyjama Angel you can find out more here .

Source: all general information about the Pyjama Foundation www.thepyjamafoundation.com