Written by Claire Burgess (Occupational Therapist)
When a child has a tough start in life, it does not have to determine the rest of their journey.
At Ability Focus Occupational Therapy we are committed to seeing children and young people reach their potential. We love that each day we have the privilege of being a part of this process for so many incredible little ones and their carers. It’s a job that we take very seriously, and we always want to be learning new ways to grow in our knowledge and understanding of how to do this better. We couldn’t do this without working with the inspiring individuals who are proud to be foster carers.
We are constantly in awe of the dedication and love that foster carers provide to children in their care, and we never underestimate the significance of their selfless commitment to ensuring these children know that they are loved, important and capable. I recently heard someone say that “foster carers are the unsung heroes of our community”, and we find this to be absolutely true.
There are so many great organisations who are paving the way in supporting and empowering young people on their journey, and we are inspired by this and want to partner with them. One of these organisations is the Pyjama Foundation, who are dedicated to helping young kids in foster care.
Children in foster care currently experience the lowest education outcomes nationally. We know statistically that starting life without the foundation of a basic education can lead to disadvantage in almost every area of life. The Pyjama Foundation has committed itself to changing these statistics, and breaking the cycle of disadvantage.
Their Love of Learning Program is a beautiful example of how we as a community can be involved and do something about it. The program is run by trained volunteers who are equipped to provide weekly educational support in the homes of these young people, through individual learning-based activities. Providing the opportunity for one-on-one support can be all that’s needed to change the direction of a young person’s life; empowering them with confidence, life skills and a chance to learn.
Education is just the start. These are young people that deserve to be valued, championed, and given the opportunity to thrive. Grace is one participant who spent 10 years in the program supported by a volunteer called Barb. Reflecting on her experience, she said “Looking back now, these few hours meant much more than just a visit. These hours made me feel loved, special and as though I deserved to learn new things and do just as well as my peers.”
National Pyjama Day gives all of us a change to be involved in this life-changing cause. By dressing in your PJs you can bring awareness to the mission of the Pyjama Foundation, sparking conversations with co-workers, friends and family. And who doesn’t love an excuse to stay in their ugg boots all day?
Head to the Pyjama Foundation website to learn more, donate on access the program for your little one. You can also get involved by sharing a photo of your cosy outfit on social media with the hashtags #PyjamaDay2020 #inmyPJs or @thepyjamafoundation.National-Pyjama-Day-Fact-Sheet