Henry Yoon: Grade 7
This winter, Buckley introduced two new fundraisers to its community: a coin drive and a pajama drive. For these efforts, two new additions were made available for each homeroom: a giant water jug and a cardboard box. The jug will hopefully be filled each morning with coins by the members of each homeroom. At the end of the drive, the homeroom with the most coins will win a free dress down day. The box is there to collect pajamas. The homeroom with the most pajamas will win a desert day. All of the money and goods earned from the two fundraisers will go into helping kids in need.
The coin drive is for a program called Make-A-Wish. The Foundation reaches a community of people who use their lives to help children with terminal illnesses. It was started back in 1980. The story begins with Chris, an average six-year-old boy living in Arizona. He was a lively, healthy boy, running around everywhere, with a head full of dreams. Then, at the beginning of his seventh year, he received an earth-shattering diagnosis: he had leukemia. With his life full of despair, he was told that his illness was terminal. His world was turned upside down. Wanting to help him, his neighbors decided to pitch in. As a surprise, two men named Officer Ron Cox and Officer Jim Eaves decided to help fulfill Chris’s dream of becoming a police officer. They bought him his own uniform, equipped with a badge and even a cowboy hat. Chris wore the costume around everywhere after that moment. A couple of months later, Cox and Eaves decided to buy him a set of wings as another surprise for the little boy. Yet when they came to his house, he had been sent to the hospital. There, he was breathing heavily. He was sweating all over his bed and visibly in pain. He managed a smile at the men who had helped him. He died later that day. He was 7 years, 269 days old.
From that moment, the kindness of Cox and Eaves was passed on to others, and it set in motion a phenomenon that would create an unprecedented kind of charity. Today, the Make-A-Wish Foundation is a thriving community with over 10,000 members and volunteers. They help make the lives of ill and suffering children grow so much better. On average, the Foundation grants a wish every 35 minutes. Buckley Country Day School hopes to contribute to this, since 100 percent of the collected coins will go to them.
The second drive will go towards a separate program called the Pajama Program. This is a group dedicated to helping kids achieve what they call The 24-Hour Good Day Loop. The community helps ensure that kids start out their days in a great way by helping them get a better sleep, whether by reading to them or by sending them pajamas. “Thousands of children across the United States will go to sleep tonight and their bedtime will be missing something. They may be feeling alone and afraid, in a bed that isn’t theirs, in a shelter that isn’t a home or with families who wish they could give them more,” says the founder of the program, Genevieve Piturro.
The Pajama Program was started from one little kid’s question: “What are pajamas?” This was from a young girl, who was living in a shelter. She had received these pajamas as a gift back in 2001, and when told what pajamas were, she then asked, “I can keep these for the rest of my life?” Genevieve Piturro, the founder, realized that all the children at the shelter’s parents had either abandoned them or had been killed. Either way, none of them had an adult who could tuck them into bed at night, nor did they have any form of night clothes. They just sort of lied down on futons in their day clothes.
In the following days, Piturro brought in pajamas and storybooks for the children and then started the Pajama Program to help other children like the ones she had seen at the shelter. Since 2001, the Pajama Program has delivered over 2 million pajamas and 4 million books to children in need.