The search is on to find Angels who can mentor more than 100 children in foster care across the Moreton Bay Region.
As part of the Pyjama Foundation’s Love of Learning Program, Pyjama Angels are volunteers who spend an hour a week with children living in care to improve their literacy and numeracy skills.
They do this by reading to the children and playing educational games.
Currently, the foundation is assisting 78 children in the Moreton Bay Region, but there are 107 children on a waiting list in this area alone.
One person who has seen firsthand the difference a Pyjama Angel can make is former teacher aid Karen Cutlack.
The Redcliffe resident became involved with the Pyjama Foundation in 2004, helping dozens of children who have had a rough start in life.
“I have worked with a lot of families, many of them long term, which I have absolutely loved,” she said.
“It’s a really hard thing to realise there are children out there who can’t read - some of whom have never held a book in their hands before.
“But I love working with them and seeing their progress and how confident they become.”
While all children are different when it comes to learning, Mrs Cutlack said there were times she had to think outside the box.
“Sometimes you have to be really creative when you have a child that says they don’t like to read,” Mrs Cutlack said.
“I have had boys that were adamant they didn’t want to sit down and read, so I would go outside and throw a football with them while they did their spelling.
“I would also have kids write shopping lists, and then with permission from some of the foster mums, we would get out the cookbooks and make something. That way the kids were reading without them knowing it.
“They loved it so much that they would pick out their own recipes and ask me what we would make next time.”
Over time, Mrs Cutlack has become a trusted mentor and a positive influence in their lives, with many of the children keeping in contact even after they have grown up.
“Being a Pyjama Angel, it just changes everyone’s life,” she said.
“It’s not just the kids that get a lot out of the program, because the Angels do too.”
The Pyjama Foundation founder and CEO Bronwyn Sheehan said demand for volunteers to support the Love of Learning Program in the Moreton Bay Region was always increasing.
“This is one of our key regions that we consistently have a waiting list of children hoping for their own Pyjama Angel,” she said.
“We know that our volunteers reap just as many benefits from their volunteer role as the children receiving their mentorship do.
“We are so proud to enrich the lives of children and volunteers in this region and look forward to making many more enduring relationships possible.”