Thursday, February 25, 2016

Pajamas for Children

Dressed in their favorite pajamas, more than 100 Girl Scouts gathered at A Place for Girls, the Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast regional program center in Chesapeake, on February 19 for a pajama party with a cause. In addition to fun and games at the party, each Girl Scout brought a pair of pajamas to donate to Pajama Jams, an organization that distributes pajamas to local children in need.

Rachel Reagan, the leader of Girl Scout Troop 573, brought six girls from her troop to the event.

“My co-leader and I try really hard to get the girls involved and teach them to be kind and respectful,” Reagan said. “I think that community service really helps them learn that lesson. We always show them that they should be grateful for what they have and to help others when they can.”

Girl Scout Troop 573
This year, in addition to the pajama party event, members of Troop 573 have helped clean the beach at First Landing State Park and lay wreaths the graves of veterans during the holiday season.

For the Girl Scouts, an important part of the evening was hearing from Erika Tucker, founder of Pajama Jams. Tucker, who lives in Virginia Beach, told the Girl Scouts that each year, she gives her three children matching pajamas to wear on Christmas Eve. Then, in 2008, the tradition changed for the Tucker family. Tucker’s son, eight years old at the time, and her daughter, who was six, were disappointed to receive pajamas. They wanted to open a toy or game, not sleepwear.

Girl Scout Troop 629 with Erika Tucker
“In what I considered a teachable moment for my kids, I began to lecture them on how many children would give anything to receive just a pair of pajamas for Christmas,” Tucker said. “But, it was not enough for me to state it. I decided to show them with deeds.”

Thus, Pajama Jams was born. For Tucker and her children, it became a mission to give back to others. The organization, with the help of Girl Scout troops and other community groups, have donated more than 6,000 pairs of pajamas to children in need. The pajamas collected by the Girl Scouts at the event will reach the children in need through various organizations in Hampton Roads, including ForKids and The Samaritan House.

After learning about Pajama Jams, Girl Scouts at the party played bingo, decorated their own pair of non-slip socks and made a bedtime snack before the end of the night.