PJ DAY: Andrea Patrick, Kelsey Hitchman, Robert Willis, Grace Patrick (laying down) and Toby Patrick.
PJ DAY: Andrea Patrick, Kelsey Hitchman, Robert Willis, Grace Patrick (laying down) and Toby Patrick. Allan Reinikka ROK0560719apjs1

Angel helps pave pathway of opportunity for foster kids

GENDER bias in her industry motivated electrical engineer Kelsey Hitchman to help foster children pursue their dreams.

After hearing about The Pyjama Foundation at an engineering conference last year, Kelsey decided to become a Pyjama Angel to mentor children in the foster system.

Kelsey said making sure children had access to education and support was vital for their development.

"I realise not everyone has it so easy, so it's nice to help people in some way,” Kelsey said.

Kelsey went to a private school and participated in every extracurricular activity she chose - her privilege has motivated her to help others.

"As you get older you realise not everyone has that and you think that that's just normal but it's not,” she said.

Since January, the 26-year-old has been paired with four siblings in the foster system and meets with them on a weekly basis to work on their literacy, numeracy and provide support.

Kelsey looks forward to their meetings each week, where they play games, read and tell stories.

More than 100 foster children are in need of a Pyjama Angel in Central Queensland but only 50 children have access to weekly meetings.

Central Queensland coordinator Andrea Patrick said the foundation needed more volunteers and money to help more people.

"I'd love to have more volunteers so we can have everyone matched up and no one misses out,” Ms Patrick said

Next Friday, the foundation will raise awareness and funds through their annual National Pyjama Day.

The initiative is an opportunity to fund education for foster children just by wearing your pyjamas to work.

Ms Patrick said the day helps provide literacy and numeracy programs for foster children who traditionally fall behind in the education system.

"Who doesn't want to roll out of bed and go to work in their pjs?” Ms Patrick said.

"You can cut out all that effort (of getting ready) while coming together with the community to raise funds for our local foster children.”

She urged businesses to get involved by registering at nationalpyjamaday.com/ register.



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