Gold star for volunteer angels
Each home game, a Field of Dreams partner donates 30 Cowboys tickets to a North Queensland community organisation, giving a group of special individuals the opportunity to watch their heroes live in action.
The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys and the Cowboys Leagues Club welcome the Pyjama Foundation and 30 ‘pyjama angels’ back to tonight's game, as part of the Field of Dreams program.
The Pyjama Foundation is a national charity, with local branches in Townsville, Cairns and Mackay, which aims to support children living in foster care by providing free learning-based mentoring by volunteers called 'pyjama angels'.
Townsville pyjama angel and volunteer of two years, Bev says the opportunity has been a very rewarding one, for both her and her nine-year old cherub.
“I used to be a foster mum myself years ago and really wanted to get back into helping young children so this program was the perfect fit,” Bev said.
“The whole aim of the program is to build lasting relationships with your cherub. It is very important to a foster child to have that constant face in their life.”
A Cowboys Gold Star member, Bev speaks dotingly about her cherub who she says is as “bright as a button”, and believes their firm friendship was built on their mutual love for the team of the North.
“I’ve been a footy tragic since I was 13 having grown up watching my brother play for the Bowen Mighty Pirates, so when I first met my cherub [also a Cowboys fan], I brought along two Cowboys hats to help break the ice, and now we wear them for every session.
“My husband and I go along to all of his junior rugby league games where we watch him run around in his number four jersey.
“Our first outing together, after being partnered for nine months, was actually to a Cowboys home game, and we continue to go along to every home game together – he knows when all the games are so there’s no missing them!”
Established in 2004, Pyjama Foundation founder Brownyn Sheehan hoped the organisation would provide a more positive outlook to children in care, with poor literacy and numeracy levels of foster children often leading to a lifetime of disadvantage.
In Townsville alone, 101 pyjama angels are paired with 103 children, visiting the same child every week for up to 1.5 hours to read books aloud, play educational games and work on their numeracy skills.
Cowboys Leagues Club general manager Clint Williams said the club was delighted to continue their partnership with the Pyjama Foundation, and make a valuable contribution to a local charity.
“As a community-focused club we respect the impact these volunteers are having on the youth in our town, and being able to reward them for their work in our region is a special opportunity,” Mr Williams said.
If you’re interested in becoming a pyjama angel or want to learn more about the Pyjama Foundation, visit thepyjamafoundation.com.