It all started with my young children on Christmas Eve. We had a tradition that they were able to open one small gift on that special night. The gift was always a new pair of cozy PJ's. Fast forward 7 years...my children are now teens. They are taller than me and they think they are smarter than me. But one thing hasn't changed, they still enjoy opening a gift of PJ's on Christmas Eve!
It is hard to believe that this will be our 7th year collecting PJ's for the Children's Aid Foundation Halton. Usually every November I start organizing and reach out by sending the CAFH a quick email letting them know that I intend to run the PJ drive again. I always receive an excited email in return saying thank you and how can they help? The CAFH has always been enthusiastic and very supportive of our tradition.
This year I received an email from the CAFH in October. I was a little surprised at first and then as I continued reading, I felt honoured. They had chosen me to be inducted into their exclusive Ambassadors Circle. The Ambassadors Circle was created by their board to recognize the leading contributors to the organization for their consistent support, significant financial contributions, and leadership in the community. I was surprised and thrilled to be a part of this inspiring circle of people.
During the Ambassadors Circle induction, it dawned on me that I had not really considered how the simple act of donating a pair of PJ's could affect a child or teen. In the past years, I had only about 5 minutes of contact with the CAFH when I unloaded my car full of PJ's, even though this delivery day has always been a highlight of my holidays. Once delivered, I would leave the PJ's behind and then move on with the rest of my last minute holiday errands. At the induction, I got to meet some of the teens and young adults who have benefitted from our donations and the many other opportunities provided by the CAFH.
What I am trying to say is this, these PJ's mean something. They are a way to connect to a population of children and teens who do not have the same kind of support or family ties that many of us enjoy. The CAFH does an amazing job of giving these kids a hug and support when they need it the most. The PJ's that we collect become a part of a "Welcome Package". When a child or teen comes into the care of the CAFH they are given this care package which includes a new pair of PJ's, socks, underwear, a journal, toothbrush, toothpaste etc. For some of them, this will be the first time that they have enjoyed some of these items brand new and all to themselves! These small acts of kindness mean something. They rub off on these kids and hopefully they feel our extended love and well wishes. They deserve our support!
I am so grateful to our CSY Community and to the other elves that help with this drive (Grace Academy of Dance and Performing Arts, Burloak Canoe Club and Physical Edge Physiotherapy). It takes a village and we have a pretty amazing one when we work together!!