More Angels needed to support kids in foster care
TEACHING children to read and playing educational games doesn't just stop in the classroom for Sarah Pearson.
The primary school teacher from Esk loves to help young children learn and grow so much she has signed up to become a Pyjama Angel through the Pyjama Foundation in her spare time.
Pyjama Angels visit a foster child in their home for an hour a week assisting them with reading and writing while building a positive relationship. Over time a Pyjama Angel becomes a trusted mentor and an additional positive influence in the child's life.
Mrs Pearson said she signed up instantly to become a Pyjama Angel after seeing a post on social media, and hasn't looked back.
"I love teaching, and as busy as a teacher's schedule is, I found that I had some spare time in the afternoons and I wanted to give back," she said.
"I absolutely love it (being a Pyjama Angel). When you are sitting with a child and having that pure one-to-one time, it's wonderful.
"I like to have a little game at the beginning of the hour and then do some reading, or literacy and numeracy activities, all of which is personalised for the child."
Mrs Pearson is just one of the organisation's many volunteers here in the region, but more are needed.
Pyjama Foundation regional co-ordinator Mel Green is hoping to find Angels for around 40 children throughout the Ipswich, Somerset and Gatton region that have been referred to them.
"We have got lots of kids in foster care in this area," she said.
"We have still got about 40 kids that we have had referrals for that we can help.
"We have also got quite a few kids that have been sitting and waiting for Pyjama Angels in outlining areas, such as near the Laidley and Plainlands areas. There's also some kids out near Gatton.
"We would like to attract as many new volunteers as we can.
"We do ask for a 12 month commitment and hopefully that builds into long term relationships as well."
Ms Green said the volunteers do make an incredible impact on the children's lives, with them finishing school with good grades and more self esteem.
"I think one good thing to note is the organisation is 15 years old, and we have had some kids that have grown up with the Pyjama Foundation and gone on to finish school and university," she said.
"A common statement that comes from these kids is if it wasn't for their volunteer Pyjama Angel they probably wouldn't have finished school, and that is all because of that positive relationship and encouragement they received.
"They had that encouragement that they are capable and can do more. That's really important because some kids in care don't think they will amount to anything."
For more information on becoming a Pyjama Angel, log onto wwwthepyjamafoundation.com.