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Technical school Airmen collect pajamas for children

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Airmen attending technical training at the 381st Training Squadron participated in the Pajama Program here March 9-20. The Pajama Program is a charity in support of children who have been abused and abandoned by providing the children with pajamas and books. In support of the Pajama Program the Airmen held a pajama-drive at the 381st TRS dormitory. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Steve Bauer)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Airmen attending technical training at the 381st Training Squadron participated in the Pajama Program here March 9-20. The Pajama Program is a charity in support of children who have been abused and abandoned by providing the children with pajamas and books. In support of the Pajama Program the Airmen held a pajama-drive at the 381st TRS dormitory. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Steve Bauer)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Airmen from the 381st Training Squadron here organized a pajama-drive within the training squadron's residential dormitories here in support of the Pajama Program March 9-20.

The Pajama Program is a charity that provides new pajamas and books to children in need all over the world. The program is designed to help children who have been abused or abandoned.

"It was great to see so many Airmen willing to donate for this cause," said Tech. Sgt. Steven Whitley, a 381st TRS assistant military training leader.

A few weeks ago, while browsing the internet in search of volunteer opportunities, Sergeant Whitley came across an ad for the Pajama Program and decided to share the opportunity to give with his group of Airmen.

"I grew up in a stable military home with parents who provided me with all of life's necessities," said Sergeant Whitley. "Knowing that there are children in this world who do not have parents to read to them or provide them with comfortable clothes to wear to bed, made me feel inclined to help this charity."

Not only did Sergeant Whitley circulate the idea for a pajama-drive within the dormitory, but he spiced-up the idea with a little hint of friendly competition. The sergeant turned the pajama-drive into a competition to see which floor of the dormitory would donate the most pajamas, books and money toward the Pajama Program.

Even though the Airmen were told that the winning floor would receive a pizza party at the end of the contest, there was a much deeper incentive engrained in their minds.

"I have always enjoyed helping out and working with children," said Airman 1st Class Matthew Cleveland, a 381st TRS technical school trainee. "When I saw the opportunity to donate to the Pajama Program, I went out and picked up some pajamas for the cause at the Base Exchange."

A few of the Airmen contributed more than $200 dollars out of their own pockets for the program.

"We may not make a big impact with the amount we have collected for the drive, but we may help some children sleep comfortably at night and that's the reason we are doing this," said Airman Dinard Jesse Gonzales, a 381st TRS technical school trainee.

In less than two weeks time, the Airmen of the 381st TRS filled a box full of pajamas and books for the Pajama Program. To top it off, the Airmen will present the charity with a check for $2,000 generously donated by the Airmen.

The Airmen will send everything to an organization that will disburse the donations to shelters, group homes, orphanages and foster care facilities where children are in need. 

Anyone can make a contribution to the Pajama Program; for more information about the charity visit www.pajamaprogram.org.