The school system’s REACH program and local non-profit Dreams of Lois are teaming up to bring comfort to patients at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA). Continuing an annual tradition, the donation of pajama packs helps bring smiles to families in trying times.
It was natural for Dreams of Lois and the REACH program to work together on the project. Dreams of Lois is a non-profit run by Ivory Cloud, a teacher with REACH.
The annual donation came about from family inspiration from Ivory’s daughters, Charity and Chasity Cloud. Charity and Chasity have been the driving force behind the project for the past eight years, culminating in delivering the packs for a pajama party at CHOA.
“Our daughters are hardworking student-athletes. They believe in working hard in school and the community. Charity and Chasity are a huge part of our organization, and they LOVE pajamas. They thought it would be a cool idea to collect and shop for fun pajamas for patients at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta,” said Ivory. “Our girls are the driving force behind collecting pajamas at different schools and communities in Fayette County and other counties.”
With their usual work opportunities limited due to the pandemic, REACH students brought their skills to the operation. The Clouds worked with REACH to take inventory, pack bags with pajamas, label the bags, and send out thank you cards for donations.
Led by the students and staff in the REACH program, enough supplies were gathered for the Cloud family to deliver more than 200 pajama packs to CHOA on March 9. They hope to make a second delivery of pajama packs the week of Mothers Day.
“We are so grateful to our community, family, friends, and the Fayette County School system for all of the generous support. A special thank you to an extraordinary group of young people and staff in our REACH program who helped put the pajama packs together,” said Ivory.
Ivory started Dreams of Lois more than a decade ago in honor of her mother with the support of her husband Dr. Antre’ Cloud, a teacher at Spring Hill Elementary, her daughters, and her sister-in-law Carlneshia Heckstall, a teacher at Robert J. Burch Elementary.
“Impacting young lives is a part of the organization’s vision. My mom, Lois Marie Heckstall, passed away from breast cancer on Mother’s Day when I was 9. She passed away so young she couldn’t fulfill all her dreams. Now I want to help other people fulfill their dreams as a way of making sure my mom’s legacy is out there,” said Ivory. “My mom’s legacy lives on through giving and supporting the community.”
The pajama packs are just one project in a busy schedule, including nearly 20 events over eight years at CHOA. The first event they hosted at CHOA was a Mother’s Day tea where patients and their families got to enjoy a hot meal, cupcakes, popcorn, and crafts, and the families were given toiletries and a small gift.
“The goal of Dreams of Lois is to reach as many families as we can in the community through community outreach service projects, and mentoring young children that have suffered the loss of losing a parent,” said Ivory. “Our goal is to continue to serve the community through monthly and bi-weekly events of food donations, personal hygiene products, and mentorships.”
REACH (“Reaching Educational and Career Heights”) is a program for students with developmental disabilities ages 18-21 that helps them get into the workforce and become independent and productive citizens.
For more information on Dreams of Lois and how to get involved, go to www.DreamOfLois.org.
“We’d love to have your support through donations,” said Ivory. “Please help me collect new pajamas from infant-18 years of age, girls, and boys. It truly helps so many families.”