How an hour a week can change lives
KYLIE Hull leads a busy life, running her own speech pathology business, being a mum of two young boys and still finding time to be a Pyjama Angel.
That's Kylie's role with the Pyjama Foundation where volunteer angels work with foster children through a program based on literacy, numeracy, life-skills and mentoring.
The Pyjama Foundation has trained more than 5000 Pyjama Angels since 2004 while Kylie has been volunteering for just over two years.
She spends an hour a week with two foster kids, reading, doing homework and some games.
She had previously worked with Child Safety through her work as a speech pathologist and had always wanted to get more involved in helping foster children.
"This is a way I could easily do it while my kids were still little," she said.
"It's just about going out to support a child in the foster care system, to help them bridge that gap that is quite common in foster kids."
She says the time she spends with the kids is "beautifully rewarding", that they are "amazing, so strong, resilient and positive".
"I get a lot from those kids, I love working with them," she said.
It also sets an inspiring example for Kylie's own children, Charlie, 8 and Connor, 9.
Over time, her boys and the foster children have met.
The boys understand why Mum goes and what she does on Monday afternoons.
"I try to set that example of doing the things you love and supporting people who need a bit of extra connection," Kylie said.
"They know they can't live with their parents and this is my way of helping them in a small way."
Part of the strength of the program is having a consistent figure for the children.
If the children move homes, their Pyjama Angel goes with them so they that stable person who continues to go with them and who's not from the department or any agency.
"They're just there because they want to support that child," Kylie said.
Pyjama Angels has received an influx of volunteers from Rockhampton in the last couple of weeks and the foundation is calling for more foster carers to enrol their children.
Kylie encourages all foster parents to get involved.
"It's an extra support for them as well," she said.
"I am a support for the foster carer as much as I am for the those kids."
"It gives them an extra connection for the child and an extra person the child can rely on.
"It helps the kids to build relationships, which will help them in their foster placement.
"If they have kids they are looking after and just want an extra hand with, someone else for them to connect with, it's worthwhile."
48,000 children are in foster care in Australia
There are 9,000 foster children in QLD
92% of children in foster care are below the average reading level
75% of children in foster care don't go on to finish high school
35% of children in care will enter the juvenile justice system
The Pyjama Foundation raises 83% of its funding to support kids in care
Donate, enrol or volunteer at www.thepyjama foundation.com