Empowering through Education: Ashley's Story

27 Feb 2024

Ashley and his Pyjama Angel have shared a wonderful connection for over 19 years.

A shy sibling to four outgoing brothers, his Pyjama Angel helped Ashley grow in confidence from the time he was 6 years old. Together they have gone on a learning journey that has gifted Ashley with skills for life and his Pyjama Angel the opportunity to support a young person's potential.

As a participant in the Love of Learning and later Teen Skills Program, Ashely has experienced the transformative benefits of mentorship for kids in care, defying expectations for his future* as he now pursues a career in volunteering.

* In Australia, 47,000 children live in OOHC. Many experience poor educational achievement levels, drop out of school, and suffer long-term occupational, social, and wellbeing impacts. These impacts also mean this group is both high risk and over-represented in the criminal justice system.

It was a spark of empowerment that Ashley’s Pyjama Angel saw from his first excited visit to the library to his first rewarding day of café work experience. It was a chance to inspire “a young person in foster care to enjoy a love of learning” and grow into a more resilient version of themselves as a result.

“That smile on his face when he put the training apron on was priceless! That image will forever be etched in my mind” said his Pyjama Angel.

Over the years spent together, Ashley’s Pyjama Angel helped build skills learnt in Pyjama Foundation workshops like the Introductory Cooking Class into a joy of food, sharing moments baking and preparing meals for friends.

“Most of my favourite moments are when Ashley has made something himself… his canvas artwork, his cooking, and when we potted herbs and looked after them. A lot of these we did for gifts and that has made him very proud” said his Pyjama Angel.

With his Pyjama Angel's unwavering support, Ashley now takes pride in giving back through fortnightly volunteering at his local hospital and is currently in the process of completing a Certificate I in Active Volunteering with Volunteering Queensland.

The story of Ashley and his Pyjama Angel highlights the possibilities a supportive learning environment can create.

“The Pyjama Foundation encourages you to have hope,” Ashley said.

For Ashley’s Pyjama Angel, this lifetime worth of impact is a commitment to strengthening his future together.

“We have formed such a great “team” that we both look forward to our Friday catch ups. Over the years there have been challenges… but they have been overcome” said his Pyjama Angel. 

If you or anyone you know is interested in helping a young person in care find their confidence, become a Pyjama Angel today! Click here to start your journey.