As a mom to two young children, I have a hard time imagining what it might be like if I couldn’t put a roof over their head and a warm bed to for them to sleep in. In this economy more and more families wonder where they will sleep the next night. The stress of living in shelters, sleeping in cars, or staying with friends negatively influence a child’s early experiences and often lead to an increase in mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, poor sleep habits, and behavioral issues.
In 2005, Kendra Stitt Robins began the Project Night Night nonprofit organization with the belief that every child deserves a good night’s sleep. Robins, a former attorney and mother of one, founded the organization after working through the bedtime trials of her two year old son. She realized how critical a good night’s rest is for the healthy development of children and became concerned for the many thousands of children living in shelters who lack the basic bedtime comforts. She began an effort to collect security blankets, books and stuffed animals for these sheltered children to help ease their bedtime anxieties while in a new and unfamiliar place. Robins felt that if children sleep well at night, they will not suffer the ill effects of inadequate sleep such as decreases in performance, concentration, learning, and health.
The mission of Project Night Night is to provide “Night Night Packages”, free of charge, to homeless children from birth to pre-teen who need childhood essentials to feel secure, cozy, ready to learn, and significant. Each Night Night Package contains a new security blanket, an age-appropriate children’s book, and a stuffed animal — all nestled inside of a new canvas tote bag. In addition, Project Night Night establishes a foundation for lasting change through the hands-on volunteer opportunities that they provide to tens of thousands of individuals each year.
According to Robins, “We are very proud of distributing 25,000 Night Night Packages in 2009 and on track for at least that in 2010.”
How can you help?
- The most popular opportunity is the “Adopt a Night Night Package Program.” Robins describes the program as providing, “the means, the opportunity, and the structure for community-minded individuals and corporations to make an ongoing and lasting impact on their communities.” Groups collect items for the Night Night Packages, then assemble and deliver them to a local shelter. All the details can be found on their website.
- Monetary donations are also accepted online.
- You can also donate items at certain locations or by mail. Click here for details.
- Their website also lists many additional volunteer opportunities such as graphic design or public relations assistance, one time projects and internships. Click here for a current listing.
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