By the time Genevieve Piturro was 38 years old, she was at the height of her career in corporate America. Unwed with no children, she was free to focus only on herself, but a moment of self-reflection sent her down of caring for others.
“One day as time went on, I was 38, that one day and I stopped and asked myself, ‘Is this OK? If I continue (on) the corporate ladder, you know the nice life that I was building for myself, was it enough?'” she told MetroFocus Host Jack Ford. “And surprisingly something in me said ‘You missed something.'”
Piturro says she the missing piece was having children of her own, and she immediately sought out opportunities to connect with kids. That search landed her a volunteer position to read bedtime stories once a week at a shelter for abused children. When it came time for the kids to go to bed, she noticed they were ushered into their sleeping quarters without changing into a pair of pajamas.
“In a moment I had flashbacks of my mom sitting at the edge of my bed, my sister’s bed, my brother’s bed telling us stories, putting on pajamas — all of a sudden that instant bonding, security, comfort, love rushed back and it was empty in this room for these children,” she said. “And I couldn’t believe it but the words, ‘Can I bring some pajamas next week?’ was what came out of my mouth to one of the staff people,” she said.
Now nearly 15 years later, she founded the Pajama Program and has distributed more than 3 million pairs of sleepwear to kids in need all around the country.
“So people can give in such a small way that makes one more child safe and secure,” she said.
Her foundation, the Pajama Program, set a goal to collect 1 million “good nights” for kids, which include a fresh pair of PJs and a book for a bed time story by Dec. 31, 2015. According to the organization’s website, it has collected 971,273 pajamas and 917,046 books.