This year I was so pleased to return to the annual Life Sciences Trainers & Educators Network (LTEN) Annual Conference at the Gaylord National Harbor in Maryland. The conference is the nation’s largest and is dedicated to life sciences trainers & educators. I’ve been attending the conference almost annually since the early years when it was referred to as NSPST and it has been interesting to see how it has evolved over time. This year’s conference was a rewarding experience providing the networking, benchmarking, and learning experience I had hoped. And, I was pleased to see so many in attendance.
Each year the LTEN choses a philanthropy to support at the conference. This year was no different. The organization of choice was the Pajama Program out of the Maryland and DC area. The mission of the Pajama Program is to provide new pajamas and new books to children in need nationwide, many of whom are waiting to be adopted. These children live in group homes, shelters and temporary housing facilities and are shuffled often from one place to another. Most of these children have never enjoyed the simple comfort of having a parent tuck them in at bedtime with warm, clean pajamas and a bedtime story. Some of the children are living with their families below the poverty level, in desperate need of food, clothing and shelter. These two simple gifts of pajamas and books let the children know that someone cares - sometimes these are the only new things they have ever received.
The cause touched my heart and that of my team. Prior to attending the conference, I shared the charity project with my team. While not attending the conference, they wanted to participate in spirit in some way. We decided to have a simple virtual team-building exercise in support of the Pajama Program prior to the conference. Each team member emailed a list of their top three favorite childhood books—their personal favorites, as well as those that touched the heart of the children they loved. A great discussion ensued as we built the list of books, sharing how the stories touched our families and friends.
On my way to the conference, I took that list to Barnes and Noble and purchased as many of the books on it as possible. We donated those books with a personal note on behalf of our team at the conference the evening of the charity event. Our books along with those donated by LTEN and others were coupled with pajamas and personal notes and placed in packs by conference attendees for their intended recipients.
As a talent development firm, we believe in great causes that help expand the mind. This year, it was wonderful to bring our team just a little closer as we also shared the joy of reading with children who truly value this simple gift.
If this story touched you in some way, take a moment to learn more about the Pajama Program.