LACROFT - For Phillip Davis' LaCroft Elementary fourth grade class, math, science, English and history are all important courses of study but learning compassion, generosity and community is of equal importance.
With the holiday season in full swing, Davis was looking for a way to emphasize the giving spirit of the holiday season for his students. While flipping through a monthly newsletter from the Scholastic Reading Club, of which he is a member, Davis noticed an advertisement for "The Great Bedtime Story Pajama Drive." It was not the first time he had noticed the ad, but seeing it this time sparked an idea that hadn't occurred to him previously.
"I thought, 'There's no reason we can't do this,'" said Davis. "So I said to myself, 'You know what, let's see if these kids have the giving spirit."
Pictured is Phillip Davis’ fourth grade class at LaCroft Elementary. Davis’ class is one of four fourth grade classes that took action to help kids in need by taking part in “The Great Bedtime Story Pajama Drive.” The pajama drive is a collaboration between The Scholastic Corporation’s Book Club and the Pajama Program which collects pajamas for needy children and donates a book for every pair donated. Together the fourth grade was able to collect about 150 pairs of pajamas. Davis came up with the idea to participate in the program and his classroom has been able to collect the most pairs of pajamas. (Photo by Devin Bezeredi)
"The Great Bedtime Story Pajama Drive" is a collaboration between the Scholastic Corporation's Scholastic Reading Club and the Pajama Program. The Pajama Program is a charity program with 62 chapters in 32 states. The Pajama Program collects new pajamas and books and distributes them to children in need.
Since 2009, the Scholastic Reading Club, in conjunction with the Pajama Program, has collected 250,000 pairs of pajamas as part of "The Great Bedtime Story Pajama Drive." For each pair of pajamas collected, Scholastic donates a book to go with them to a child in need. So far this year the pajama drive has collected about 22,106 pairs of pajamas
Davis presented the idea to his students and the other fourth grade teachers and all agreed to lend a hand. Mrs. Jeffries', Mrs. Walgate's and Mrs. Welling's fourth graders all pitched in, answering the call to help kids in need. Davis notes that Mr Winebold, also lent a hand. He says although he promised the class that collected the most pajamas a pizza party, the fourth graders soon became more concerned with giving than pizza.
"They got really excited and started losing track of the fact that there was a party promised at the other end and just wanted to know how many pajamas we've collected," said Davis. "They came into it with the right attitude."
Davis said since he announced to his students that they would be participating in the pajama drive, he has been moved by how well his students responded and taken the initiative.
"I'll bet that adults are responsible for 10 percent and the kids brought the rest," said Davis. "What's really impressive is some of the kids that come from families that can afford it a little better brought a handful of them, but I had some kids that probably don't have their own pajamas that begged mom and dad to participate."
With the pajama drive winding down, Davis says the 90 students in the fourth grade have collected about 150 pairs of pajamas. Each pair of pajamas will be matched by a book donated by Scholastic. Davis hopes to continue participating in the program next year and increase the scale of the program. Davis says perhaps the biggest reward for himself is seeing his fourth graders learn values that will help them grow into good citizens.
"To me, it's all about recognizing that there are small ways everybody can help," said Davis. "I can teach them all the math and science and reading in the world, but part of what you do while you're in school is learn how to be a member of a community."