PJ Cares events help families give back to the community while having fun
In addition to the Jewish-content books and music JFCS’ PJ Library program sends to children each month, the events it hosts – from story times to concerts, art activities and more – have been a great way for families to meet each other, socialize and have fun. But when PJ Library surveyed families last year, many indicated they were looking for community service opportunities as well.
With this in mind, PJ Library launched the PJ Cares program series this spring.
PJ Cares is designed to engage families in Jewish-value-based volunteering and social gatherings and increase involvement of new families in PJ Library through these service learning projects.
These service projects align with JFCS’ value of tikkun olam (repair of the world). During the next year, PJ Cares will sponsor 13 service-learning activities about once per month that will focus on PJ Library books, Jewish values and community engagement.
“Families want social engagement time where they can meet and be with current friends,” said PJ Library Program Coordinator Debbie Wolfe, “but they want to get something meaningful out of it at the same time. is is where the ‘a-ha’ for a year of programming centered around community service with PJ came into play.”
The first event, PJ Cares for Kids, was held on April 30 at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. Families decorated placemats for patient food trays, played summer safety games, brought their stuffed animals to get “treated” at a stuffed animal clinic, and participated in other fun activities. Some participants also brought donations of new children’s pajamas for the hospital. It was a great kickoff to the PJ Cares series.
“I thought this was a wonderful activity because not only did the children get a chance to be familiar with the hospital setting, but they also learned about healthcare and safety in a friendly, non-threatening setting,” said Lili Chester, who accompanied her grandchild to the event.
“An important part of the experience was sharing with less fortunate children through the placemat decorating activity,” she added. “It brought home the idea that we can help other children by providing artwork to brighten their day. Sharing is caring!”