Getting a good night’s sleep comes with many benefits, and most health experts agree it is as important as a healthy diet and regular exercise.
For students, a comfortable and restful night of sleep often enables them to thrive the following day.
It’s with that in mind that a trio of Millikin Elementary School teachers—Mrs. Elizabeth George, Mrs. Lyndsey Shehorn and Miss Dana Storm—rallied their fourth graders to participate in raising pajamas for the 12th Annual Great Bedtime Story Pajama Drive.
Their students came through in a big way, collecting 156 pairs of pajamas, a 55% increase from the 2018-19 total of 101.
“It breaks my heart as a mother, a teacher and a human that not every child is promised a safe, loving and established bedtime routine,” said Mrs. Shehorn. “When I first learned about the pajama drive, I knew I wanted to get involved because it’s everything I am passionate about when it comes to kids.
“There is also a learning and growth opportunity for our students through this drive,” noted Mrs. Shehorn, who hopes to make the pajama drive a school-wide initiative next year.
“Children develop and thrive on stability, safety, comfort and literature, shared with a loving adult,” Mrs. Shehorn continued. “It makes my heart so happy knowing our students, their families and our community members helped in providing others with some support for a good night, for a good day.”
For every pair of pajamas donated, Scholastic Book Clubs will donate a new book to the Pajama Program, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes and supports a comforting bedtime routine and healthy sleep for children. As a partner of Millikin’s for the Pajama Program, Bethany for Children and Families in the Quad Cities will help provide 156 recipients with pajamas and a book.
Through the annual pajama drive, classrooms across America have collected and donated more than 850,000 pajamas since 2009. Scholastic Book Clubs has more than matched those numbers with a donation of more than 1.25 million books during that same period.
None of it would be possible without efforts like the one at Millikin. The Pajama Program relies on a national network of volunteers, donors and partnerships with 4,000 community-based organizations across the United States, including Puerto Rico, to achieve its mission.
“There is also a learning and growth opportunity for our students through this drive,” noted Mrs. Shehorn, who hopes to make the pajama drive a school-wide initiative next year. “They learn that some of the things we take for granted are some of the simple but invaluable components that others are missing in their lives. They realize very quickly that it doesn’t take a lot of money, time or a large initiative to make an impactful difference. These are lessons that just cannot be taught from a lesson plan.”