On behalf of the entire team at Pajama Program, we remember our beloved friend and supporter, Betsy Howie. Betsy was the first to recognize the connection between Pajama Program and Scholastic, and the work that our two organizations could undertake together to deepen our impact. At Scholastic, Betsy found Pajama Program while searching for a nonprofit whose work felt grassroots in nature; a cause that both children and adults could get behind. As Betsy put it, bedtime felt more complete with a good story. Why not incorporate books into what we gave the children? And so, fast forward 14 years, and Betsy’s legacy continues, our partnership with Scholastic has grown, and with her thoughtfulness, Betsy identified a powerful combination: pajamas and books.
Our Founder, Genevieve Piturro, remembers Betsy and shares the following:
“Betsy Howie became part of Pajama Program’s story in 2008. Her compassion, humor and ‘get it done’ attitude immediately drew me in and endeared her to us all. It was no surprise that she joined our Board the next year. I learned quickly that Betsy led with her open heart, laughed with abandon, and loved fiercely. She lived her whole life with passion and inspired the rest of us to do the same. She followed the beat of her own drum, and she stood her ground – and if you were lucky enough to be her friend, she would stand by you forever.
Betsy pulled everyone into her amazing, wild ride of a life – and in that life, she made our children one of her priorities personally, and with the Scholastic team right beside her. Betsy changed every single one of us and I am personally so grateful to this beautiful woman with the wild golden curls and amazing marshmallow treats, for the love and compassion she gave to our children, and for the memories I have of all the ways she made the world brighter.”
Betsy also served as a member of the Board of Directors for many years. She not only supported Pajama Program’s partnership with Scholastic, but also dedicated time to supporting our local programs. One memorable day, Betsy visited a group of girls at the NYC Center to share her knowledge about tap dancing. It wasn’t enough to simply talk about her love of dancing — Betsy put on her tap shoes and tapped to all our delight, engaging the girls and inspiring us all.
Betsy will always be part of the fabric of Pajama Program, and therefore many of our children’s lives. We are grateful for her friendship and to have been part of her journey. May her memory dance on in all our hearts.
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If you would like, please share your favorite memories of Betsy in the comments.
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