There are pajama parties, and then there was the pajama party to top all on Long Island. All nine schools in the Half Hollow Hills School District in Dix Hills hosted a pajama day, with students from elementary up through high school encouraged to arrive for classes wearing their favorite PJs. What made this fun day even more special was the reason behind the sleepwear: two of the schools’ eighth graders had previously received so much satisfaction from raising gift card donations to benefit pediatric patients that they wanted to do even more.
Every student who wore PJs to the Half Hollow Hills District’s pajama day was encouraged to also bring with them a new pair to donate to the Children’s Medical Center at NYU Winthrop Hospital. Their efforts were remarkable—and 1,650 pairs of pajamas were collected. The PJs were personally delivered to the hospital by four students who were, naturally, dressed in pajamas, and they were joined by the district’s superintendent—who chose not to wear pajamas.
“After our success with a gift-card drive for pediatric patients, our superintendent challenged us to think about what we could do next, so we were inspired to dream even bigger,” said Ashley Kalb, who together with fellow eighth grader Morgan Mandel orchestrated the gift cards as well as the pajama donations.
“We hope that our pajama gifts put smiles on the faces of kids in the hospital,” added Mandel. “What’s also great about the drive is that it taught a lot of students that giving can be an awful lot of fun.”
“We encourage and fully support our students in taking creative approaches to community and charitable work,” said Dr. Patrick Harrigan, Superintendent of Half Hollow Hills School District. “These initiatives help develop leadership and well-rounded young adults, while benefiting good causes.”
Young patients who arrive at NYU Winthrop Hospital often do so without overnight bags in tow, since their arrival may be due to an unplanned event such as a trip to the Emergency Room. Having 1,000 pairs of youth pajamas, for all shapes and sizes, is just what the doctor ordered for a good night’s sleep at NYU Winthrop. The pajamas were accepted by Leonard Krilov, MD, Chairman of Pediatrics at NYU Winthrop, together with representatives from the Hospital’s Child Life Program, which is dedicated to helping children understand and cope with the hospital experience.
Certified Child Life Specialists utilize therapeutic play, arts and crafts, entertainment and other diversions to ensure that the hospital experience is as stress-free as possible for children and their families. Now, thanks to the Half Hollow Hills School District, children will be gifted with a pair of cozy pajamas to further add to their comfort.
“The Department of Pediatrics at NYU Winthrop is most appreciative of the students’ efforts to think beyond themselves and give back to our patients in such a special way,” said Dr. Krilov. “Families are often going through a trying time when they’re in the Hospital, and this unique gesture is sure to bring comfort.”
Also spearheading the pajama drive were the siblings of Morgan and Ashley: Matthew Mandel and Hayley Kalb, both in grade 10, and Marissa Mandel, grade six. The District’s Central Office also contributed to the drive.
For more information about the Child Life Program at NYU Winthrop, visit www.nyuwinthrop.org.
—Submitted by NYU Winthrop Hospital