Passion & Purpose
Love & Relationships
Health & Well Being
Purpose, Passion and Pajamas
Genevieve was a successful television marketing executive until she dramatically changed the direction of her life. She found her true purpose when a sudden voice inside her head challenged her life as she knew it. In 2001, she founded the hugely successful national non-profit, Pajama Program, when a six-year-old girl’s question changed her life forever and she jumped off the corporate ladder! Almost twenty years later, Genevieve’s Pajama Program has delivered 7 MILLION magical gifts of new pajamas and new books to children throughout the US.
Genevieve is now a professional speaker, author, personal strategy coach and consultant, sharing life and leadership lessons she learned through her Pajama Program journey. Her book Purpose, Passion and Pajamas: How to Transform Your Life, Embrace the Human Connection and Lead with Meaning was released in August 2020 and she presented her first TEDx talk, “1 Idea + The Human Connection = 7 Million Pajamas and Books”.
She has been interviewed on many local and national media outlets including OPRAH and continues to inspire others to listen to their heart-voice in pursuing their passions.
You will be empowered with today’s heartfelt conversation and the inspiring journey on how one woman made a major life change at the age of 38 to pursue her true purpose and make a huge difference in the world.
How to get involved: https://pajamaprogram.org/
Please email Genevieve and let her know you are part of the HSW (Heart Soul Wisdom Podcast Community) for your special Bonus Gift
Moira's Website: http://moirasutton.com/
Welcome, I'm so excited as we begin our second season episode 21 Purpose, Passion and Pajamas with our very special guest speaker, author, personal strategy coach, human connection expert and founder of the pajama program, Genevieve Piturro. Genevieve was a successful television marketing executive until she dramatically changed the direction of her life. She found her true purpose when a sudden voice inside her head challenged her life as she knew it. In 2001, she founded the hugely successful national nonprofit pajama program, when a six year old girls question changed her life forever, and she jumped off that corporate level. Almost 20 years later, Genevieve's Pajama Program has delivered 7 million magical gifts of new pajamas and new books to children throughout the US. Genevieve is now a professional speaker, author, personal strategy coach and consultant sharing Life and Leadership lessons she learned through her pajama program journey. Her book, Purpose, Passion and Pajamas: How to Transform your Life, Embrace the Human Connection and Lead with Meaning was released in August 2020 and she presented her first TEDx talk "1 Idea + The Human Connection = 7 Million Pajamas nd Books." She has been interviewed on many local and national media outlets, too many to really name here, but also Oprah and she continues to inspire others to listen to their heart voice in pursuing their passions. You will be empowered with today's heartfelt conversation and this inspiring journey on how one brilliant woman made a major life change at the age of 38 to pursue her true passion and purpose and make a difference in the world. So without further adue, I would like to introduce you to our special guest Genevieve Piturro. Welcome Genevieve!
Thank you, Moira. How are you?
I'm great. I'm so excited. I love your name,
This makes me think of the King Arthur Time and I used to have a little Barbie with this beautiful dress and so Genevieve, just it conjures up this. Well, who you are this beautiful woman.
Oh, sweet. When I was younger, I hated it. Because nobody could say I want it to be Jennifer so badly. But as I grow into it, I just loved it. And now it's great because it's so unique.
Yes. And that's like we were just saying before here like, you know, I always knew when the teacher got stuck. Oh, she's looking at me. But, you know, and then people told me everything it meant and one day in university. Somebody said Moira means fate. Do you know that? And I didn't know was if it was good fate or bad fate? But as I grew up, I knew it was good fate.
So probably make your own.
Yes, so Genevieve because you are the first guest. I'm so excited. 2021 and, you know, 2020 has been a really unforgettable year for all of us. And I believe we're ready to create a new way of being as we enter into this new era, the Age of Aquarius, one of community, contribution for me, also unity consciousness and human connection. And you stated when we restore this human connection in our lives. We also restore meaning in our lives, because we start to care for ourselves and each other, and what we can accomplish together, that collaboration. And you also share that you wanted to be like Mary Tyler Moore more than 15 years into your career. You heard this voice. So please share this powerful story and how your life dramatically changed. Where did it all start?
Sure and I agree, this has been a year and we are all reevaluating what's important. Yes, I wanted to be Mary Tyler Moore from the earliest memory. I snuck downstairs to watch her every Saturday night and life I wanted you to city girl, and single with a great job and entertainment and best friends, she had her own apartment. And you know, she always had a great wardrobe. And to me that was success. And I wanted to be that woman, you know, breaking through in a man's world and living on my own. But 12 or 13 was a little young, so I had to wait and go to College but that's when I started dreaming or being Mary Tyler Moore.
And that's an awesome story.
Oh, I just loved her and never got to meet her just took a picture with her statue. But you know, wish I had. And yes, like you said I was climbing that corporate ladder. I was loving it. I was a workaholic and all the colleagues you know we're workaholics and that to me was status and success and independence. Little did I know one afternoon when I was just putting around my little apartment, I heard a voice asked me a question and I know the voice came from. It didn't come from my head, why would you use the voices coming from my head? But this one came from in my soul in my heart and I call this my heart-voice now. And it asked me, if this is the next 30 years of your life. Is this enough? Wow, that's a big, it was a big question. And it really, it panicked me first because I heard a voice. And it was so clear. And I was alone. So I knew that this was some, some voice that was I had to listen to. And I sat down. And immediately I knew the answer was, no, what am I? What am I doing? What am I living for? What's this? Really? What's his life really about? And I realized, I'm just working for other people, I'm working for money, I'm alone. And I would be alone. I didn't, you know, make time for family. It wasn't important to me that, you know, husband and children at that point. And I started to really think hard and literally started that day, thinking, How can I change things? I know that that voice was telling me something that it probably was trying to tell me earlier. And it was really the time. So I thought, How can I bring children into my life? And that's when I started meeting in shelters, and met a little girl that changed everything.
So tell us about that little girl and how how that happened in going into, you know, shelters. And that would be pretty, very dramatic to see those children all alone in that. And as we know, a lot of children, you know, there's a lot of trauma they carry. And I you know, I was a social worker for years and all that background that yes, yes. is so in their consciousness?
Yes, you're right. You're right. I don't think you can ever outgrow that, or, you know, get that. But I thought, you know, where are where do they take these children that I see and hear about in the newspapers and TV news. And I called the local police. And I asked them that, where do these children go? Where do you take them and they gave me a couple of New York City and Westchester, shelters, emergency shelters were 24 hours, the children would be brought there by police or social workers because they're being harmed because they've been neglected or at home. And I call them pre 911. In New York, you could do what I did, and literally say, I am a nice person, can I come and read to the children at night? And they would respond the same way? Sure. You sound like a nice person, we'd love to have you. And I saw I watched some books one night after work. And I made my way over and I went in there. Now I didn't I don't know what they expected me. But I was in for some education. And you just said you're a social worker. So you know more than than I did. And they went up to this room some places over the last few weeks. We're not public, you'd have to know. Oh, you know, but these are people are hiding the children (yes I understand) and some having a sign on the door. So I went into one of the places and they led me to a room that was really, really bare. And they said they bring the children and to make myself comfortable. I was in business. Because like I said, I didn't have any clue. And I had a bag of books. And the work wasn't any work for me to sit there were a couple of children's chairs. So I sat on the floor. And then I saw those faces at the door. And they walked in with the staff person and they saw me sitting on the floor. And so they sat on the floor. And they were told that nicely. He's going to leave in the story. And I read story after story. No, because there wasn't nobody was talking. They've been through. I don't know what at that point. I had no clue. They were very quiet. They were wearing clothes that I know they'd been wearing for too long. Some of them were so frightened looking. And the only voice was mine. I've read story after story until the staff came in. And I said okay, children Time for bed. And I didn't ask questions and leaving volunteering situation information. So time after time, I went to different places. And one night I followed to where they were taking the children to go to sleep because I was curious. And I saw the same type of a bear room which I called the bedroom with futons and cots and couches and sometimes more than one child on a surface and all the memories of my mom and bed time with her my sister and brothers came back to me because these children were in the same clothes they had been wearing. There was nothing to change. into, some of them were crying and the staff were lovely, but it wasn't really the atmosphere for tucking in each child and a bedtime story. I had done some reading. And the only thing that came out of my mouth was, can I bring some pajamas next week. And they thought that was really a great idea. And I did. And I had a bag of pajamas and a bag of books with me and lots and lots of sizes so no one would be left out. And I started handing them out to the children. And one little girl halfway through, she just shook her head. She was so afraid, I could just see it and her clothes were too tight and soiled and her hair was messy and she was just she was she just looks so alone, little girl. I tried to give her a pair of pajamas, it would fit and she just kept shaking her head. No, no, no, no, no. And she watched me give them to the rest of the children. But she kept saying no one I tried to give them to her until finally she was the last one there to want to watch. And I went back over to her with a staff person when they tried to get, on one knee and she whispered to me, what are they "What are pajamas" and she could barely say pajamas, what are pajamas? And that was the moment everything changed. Because I just I had I couldn't talk I didn't think I her right. I just was in shock that there was a world of children like this one that didn't have the smallest piece of bedtime comfort of a mother's love. That it literally I think it broke my heart. And that was the beginning of a non non stop obsession?
Well, well, that was another heart-voice connection, not only the question that you heard in your head from your heart, and then this connection with this child and you following this, like you're pursuing, you know, one step at a time here and the, you know, the compassion and the love and connection you made but also really the courage to to go and look at that a lot of people don't want to look at things that are happening in the world. No, no. And there's things happening in our backyard kind of thing. And like you said, these homes are sometimes hidden ways to protect those people. Because I know that we had that in social work world. But for you to make that stuffing go in, that was a lot of courage, I think on your part, to really like...
I didn't, yeah, I maybe but I didn't think about that. I had I was totally ignorant. I mean, I grew up in a middle class family. My father came from Italy, my mother didn't work, we made ends meet barely, my mother could stretch $1 in many ways. You know, I knew what it was like not to have luxury, which is probably what motivated me to want to make money to help the rest of, you know, certainly my mom and everyone, but that was still a far, far away from what this child and others like her we're living through. And I wasn't prepared, not that you could ever be prepared, but I just I was embarrassed. and I was so ignorant. I was just so embarrassed in my own heart that I was unaware. and I just at that moment, I just became obsessed with fixing, helping there was something simple. I could do. And if I told other people wouldn't they want to help. And they did.
Genevieve part of your mission, which is there's lots of vision mission around you. Just so taken by you Genevieve, you're such a beautiful, beautiful soul and well, but your mission is to inspire people to listen to their own hearts. How do you do that? And and please share some lessons here and leadership and some tools and how people can motivate themselves to really find their pajamas, meaning their life purpose?
Right, Right, well, you know, that's why I wanted to write the book because I would speak these 20 years and tell the story because it was very important for me to tell the story because it wasn't the same. If I said listen, there are kids who don't know what pajamas are, Can you support us? Can you write a check? Can you send me some, you know, new pajamas, new books. It was more compelling. I realized by telling the story, because it was an incredible reaction for most people. I felt like they got it they got exactly what I felt. They felt it too Even though she wasn't standing in front of them. Like she stood in front of me. She came through me almost which sounds crazy, but you know what I mean? I know you know, it was as if I was I was just speaking in her voice and standing there because I felt it and because they felt it. They wanted to move, it moved them, and they told other people, no matter where I went, that human connection was astounding. That was my introduction to how powerful this human connection is. And I write so many stories in the book about who did what and who heard what and what their reaction was, and how far that little girl traveled through my voice, through my connections to people and I say, at the end of every chapter, I have heart of the matter takeaways, which are life lessons. And there are there are many of them. And one of them is that the human connection is just a miracle machine is it's unbelievable. And that came out of one of the last lessons in the book is people always say, and I heard it too, for 20 years, and I thought it was lovely, but it's so I learned it's so untrue. Look at the power of one, look what you did, you're just one person, what a great idea. One, the power of one. You know what, it's not true. It's not the power of one. It's the power of one another, that moves mountains and moves people. And that's what we have to. That's what what I learned. That's what I try to share. Because I've, I've seen from zero to 7 million and growing, even this year, the people who are moved by sharing a story. So we have to share our stories. And I don't think it's a coincidence that we're we're wearing masks and we're looking at each other's eyes. That's, that's the soul right through there right through each other's eyes, you have to look now you can't just hear because sometimes it's muffled with a mask, you can't read lips, because you can't see the lips. You're looking in the eye. And I think whether we know it or not, we're reaching deeper.
I love that you brought that up. And definitely that story, our stories matter. It's important for us to own our voice to be to be true to ourselves. Part of my my branding is create the life you love on your terms. It's not about being somebody else, if somebody inspires you in that, and they can help mentor you, as you say, once you've done something, and if you can mentor and pay it forward. I think that's an important part of the process. But this part about the eyes? For sure. And I said that to somebody in the summer, I guess it was this lady, beautiful lady. And we both had a mask on and she was smiling behind and she said something and I said, You're such a beautiful person, I can see that. She goes one. She's smiling under the mask. And then she said, I can see who you are through your eyes. Exactly what you said and I thought, Yeah, because that there's times I go by a child and that and I smile under the mask, and I want the child to see the smile. Yes, but that child gets it. But this part about owning your voice. Like I think right now, the empowerment of women and men to really look at your story be truthful. And you were brave enough to just get out there and start doing things because there was you had your challenges along the way, like, you know, like we all do when we're creating something and that that first leap of faith to go down a new path. Tell us about that. Because you think you're a leaper. And so there's, and there's people that there's no, no judgement here. Like, there's times I've sat on the sidelines, and then I'll say to myself, I'll have a talk, okay, it's time to get off that fence, it's time to go do this. And it takes courage it takes, you know, to look at, there's maybe risk there. But there's also all this growth and expansion that we can experience in our heart. And that's what I think the universe is about expansion and love.
So your leaper, is that every area of your life, you're a leaper and you had faith when you made this leap.
Well, I am a Leaper in that way, for good or bad. And let me tell you, there's a lot of bad in that too as you can imagine. And as I detail in my book, which is very honest. That's the way that I've always done things a jump and then I figure out how to swim. So I but I was really directed by something outside of me. through that little girl. I did feel upset. As I said, I didn't I didn't make a list of the pros and cons. I didn't make a list of what to do. I didn't have any resources. I spent all my money I rang up the credit cards ridiculously because it just had to make sure no child would be without pajamas on that next visit. I was very irresponsible. But I just believed I just believed and maybe it wasn't. It probably wasn't the smartest way to start something which I didn't even know I was starting until I realized so many. There was a little article that came out in a national magazine because a local reporter said called me ~ are you the lady giving pajamas to children in the shelter? And I said, Yeah, I guess so, she wrote a little article, and there's more drama to it in the book. But what happened was 1000s and 1000s of packages showed up at my door of my little apartment. And as I opened them, and along the way, the universe helped me find this wonderful man who when I said something really as ridiculous as I think I'm going to quit my job, and give these pajamas and books to children and shelters. And then I waited for this response that a normal human being would say, like, you know, what is your plan. But he didn't ask me what the plan was. He said, Go for it. So I married him. He was the one for me. Right, and I was 38. So I waited, but he moved into my place and all these boxes and bags and packages were arriving and letters, and we read them, they piled up, we were eating on them, and we couldn't even find each other, it was a maze and crying after everyone, because people were giving there, I could see if it was a senior citizens giving me $5 I could read. So it was a corporate person I could read if it was somebody who just said, Please give these to a child. And it was a pair of new pajamas. And I looked at him and then, you know, a second I said to him, this is this is a responsibility now to these people. And that's when I had to get, you know, all the paperwork, which I've never planned. And I didn't I was just doing this because I felt like I could make a difference and get pajamas to children. But it became clear that this was something that I could have help with and so that's, that's when the universe said, we're going to give you a little boost here, you're going to need to look at the business side, whether you like it or not.
Yes. And then you look down for profit and all that what you have to do there, that's the learning curve, like huge!
Oh, my goodness, oh, my goodness is unbelievable.
Yeah, really frightening. Like, it's like if your brains not functioning that way, I know, I would find it.
Overwhelming. I had to find people to help me. And I had no money because I spent it all I mean, literally. And I was you know, I was just, and of course, I was afraid to ask for help. You know, we all are. But at one point, I had to or we've gotten to the next step. And so I pushed myself and you know, and I talked about when I coach, I say I know who you are, because I was you. I was afraid I was ignorant. I was embarrassed, I struck out. And I had to get up. And you know, most people didn't know any of that for a good number of months, people thought I was doing my job and everything. And I was hiding all this stuff and hiding my money troubles. But you know, that's but I can I can share those secrets. Now, thankfully, and being inspired by all these people over 20 years, I want to inspire somebody else to take that leap. Or I say take a slide if you can't take a leap. And that's that's what I'm coaching in the new year. Yes, yeah, I find that...
I have that as one of my questions. Why don't we just dive into that about taking a slide and for people to move towards that area of their passion, their purpose in finding their pajamas? So tell us a bit about them?
Sure, Moira, you actually mentioned something along these lines a little bit ago. This is this is a scary time. And it is for me too, financially, it is for all of us. And starting a new thing again, in the pandemic, I understand, you know, people's fear of starting something new but, but I know that this, these eight months have caused people to reflect on what's really important and what they're not doing as much as what they're, they have to do put food on the table. And I say this is the time to bring hope and to remember what brings us joy. So whatever you've put on the back burner that you've said, like all of us have said when the time is right when I get this much money in the bank when the kids take that whether it's learning to ride a horse, teaching, gardening, becoming a dentist, what ever it is, take it from the back burner and slide it up to one of the front corners and do something about it once a week. Just once a week, an hour. You will be shocked at how much joy and happiness you feel by letting it's like a gift to yourself letting yourself know your dreams are still alive. And there's hope there and it's just the changes the changes us and it changes that people in our world they feel that energy of hope and being being alive amidst you know the uncertainty.
I definitely I feel that's one of your wisdom gems about gifting yourself, you know, a perfect soul in a meaningful present to yourself by taking that time. And, you know, and really being in gratitude, you know all about gratitude Genevieve, yes, it's powerful. And I know when I meditate, I realized the other day, I was thinking, I was meditating only three years, but it's four years in next, it'll be five years, that I meditate every day. And that's a non negotiable for me to have that time. And really, you know, there's times I start just saying, Thank you, thank you, and just going into that space. And, you know, and feeling that, and it switches your energy, you're literally in this place of total gratitude and gratitude for our life and all the miracles around us, if we would open our eyes at times and see just how bountiful that we are in our life, even if there's even a slight thing. I know, some people say to me, sometimes, oh, I don't really have much, or, you know, I don't know my purpose and my passion. And I believe that we're being put on our heart, what you really desire. And what you've, you know, if you look reflect on your life, what things you're drawn to. And, you know, what, what makes you smile? What lights up your soul? If you really start, like you were saying at the beginning, the questions that we ask ourselves and start exploring that and taking time, like you said, every week to start moving forward, one baby step at a time, it starts to get, you know, this, I call it a snowball effect. And the people circumstances and, you know, opportunities will show up, as long as we keep our eyes open, we're open to not the how ~ the how is not our job. It's the universe.
Exactly, exactly. Yeah. And that's a hard lesson to learn it was for me, but I'm 20 years in and nobody believes more in the universe, then I do ~ except maybe you? (laughter both of us)
Well, I have to get out of my own way for many years. I'm 61, going on 62, I said my husband of the day in February, two months, and, you know, it's, it's really, it's taken me a while to get to that point also. And to not try to figure it has to be my way or, you know, the highway. And, you know, and also what's important in our lives every day, and giving back and contribution is huge. And as I said at the beginning, I truly believe that we're in this Age of Aquarius, which is not Pisces anymore. It's not about separation and competition. It is about collaboration, community and connection, as you call human connection is huge ~ and what we can do together. How do people cultivate more compassion and this connection, and this love in their heart so they can create this more meaning and fulfillment? What would it be your first little gem again, I'm calling this wisdom gems today.
When I say share your story, tell her your story. Ask ask them, what's yours? Yes, and people, people will, we will. But nobody's asking. I mean, now more, more than ever, I think, in some cases, we are asking more. Because we're in this together. And it's it is just a cliche, saying, but it's, it's very true. And I do think that we get that from each other, that there is that natural compassion, if we're not rushing or panicking. So I say sit down and, you know, say, you know, this was happening with me, I was, you know, running a nonprofit, and I wanted to write a book and speak more. And I had no idea that it would launch in a quarantine time and it's, it's tricky, you know, and, and it's weird. And that's got me all, you know, finding new ways and trying to be as creative. And I know, how about you. And if you open up, they'll open up. And those those I've heard so many stories, it's just that we have to ask.
And you also had the situation when we were at just before you're publishing this book, that your mother did get COVID she came through it. But how scary is that?
Yes. And it was it at the early day in the early days. And we thought that was a death sentence. I mean, it was, it was so scary. It was really, you know, we weren't allowed to be with her. And my sister and brother and I and our own cars raced to the hospital to meet the ambulance that was going to take her ~ to hope to see her and give her a hug before they took her into the hospital in those seconds. Because we knew from what we've heard, you couldn't get near anyone once they got to the hospital. Mm hm. And, you know, I did not make it my sister, my brother got there and they ran over to the unit to the ambulance and she came out and they listened. They just grabbed my mother and hugged her. And I got there a minute too late, but thankfully, she's fine. She pulled out of it quickly and then and she's fine. Now. We still can't see her because of the regulations in the assisted living. But it was, it's still scary, but it was scary.
I understand that because I've shared on some of these shows that at that time just before that started, at the beginning of this year, January 2020, my husband was diagnosed with stage four, and then went to stage three prostate cancer. And and he ended up getting into a clinical study because he was so healthy, like he juices and exercises and works out. And so it was quite the thing to hear that when you're told that right and, and then as he got into this program, he went into the arm that had chemo and all the different things radiation and Immunology and, and my son because I can't stand needles or anything, he went through the first chemo session with him. And it was a long day in the hospital. And then after that, no one could go in that was it then that door was closed, and it was very scary to see a loved one in there. And you can't be with him. That's totally scary. And you know, he's on the other end of this now. It's only four months ago that he had the surgery. And also he ended up they did an angiogram on him and he ended up going in for with his heart. And he got two stents put on his heart. So it was just what what else can happen. And at the beginning of this, I was interviewed on a podcast and I was like, No, I'm okay with this. I've been an entrepreneur for over 30 years, and I work from home and I can wear whatever I want. And, you know, going out just for food and that so it didn't impact me. But as the year went on, and I was the one doing all the grocery shopping, I was the one doing the driving, it accumulated and there's I had to really be in check with my emotions, and also being an empath. And your husband, you were telling me, I'm sure he picks it up, Demo that and yourself, that I pick up that collective consciousness at times that I wake up and think this isn't mine, this is buying into that fear out there. And and, and that's that practice of meditation taking care of yourself to be in that state. So you you can be strong and you can be, you know, the lightworker the work that we're we're here to do in the world. So,
Right, right. Well, that was so well said.
Yeah. Now I want you to share it because I know when I heard you sharing this story, and I also read your beautiful book. And it's very powerful, about the man who started coming up to you, and just asking you all these questions and just boom, boom, boom questions. And then really the surprise that you had when he shared his personal truth? Tell us a bit about that. Because you are impacting so many people in the world. These stories are really personal.
Yeah, it was it was a very personal moment. And it's just another example of how human connection moves us forward. And I say that it moves us forward, when we're honest and true. And on our path and purposeful. It's just like, it just lifts us instead of having to, you know, just drudge through the mud for 10 steps. Like, it's like it lifts us 10 steps in a second. So at the early stages, we were opening a little reading center that was a space donated to us by an orphanage or Group Home and said, would you like to come here you could read to the children give them pajamas right here in this little little space. And I was excited. And so we got some posters and things and this man saw one and he called me on my cell phone. And I answered and he just started asking me questions. You know, if he even said his name, I don't know. But he didn't say his appropriation though. He started saying Why? Why are you doing this? Why did you start this? How many do you do? What, why here? What do you think it's accomplishing? And I started to get nervous. I was answering all his questions, because I, you know, I was pretty open person. But I started to get nervous. And he sensed that. And he said, I don't I don't mean to make you nervous. I just want you to know that I was a little boy in an orphanage. And what you're doing means so much I cried every night, wondering where is my mommy? And I can tell you, those children feel it. They know, they know that you're there. When they get those pajamas. I just wanted you to know that. Oh, my gosh. And, you know, I there were so many days where I really doubted myself. What am I doing? Can I really get enough? Is it making a difference? And that call came and it was another gift, a gift from you know, the universe. And he said he was a grown man. He owned a company in his 40s and said I have never been back to that orphanage. I think it's time and if you'd like to walk it with me. I would really like that. Oh my gosh, we walked an enemy. He was hesitating on the way to his cottage and then his room. And we have the director you know take us there. She was also really emotional. And we got to his room that oh my gosh, I feel I felt the pain and the, just that emotion from him just by sitting next to him and watching him peer into that room. Oh my gosh, it was just, it was something I'll never forget. And he stayed as a supporter, and we are good friends.
That story is amazing. And like you said, we need to share our stories with your story. Another story shows up, and then another one, but to see a man at that age who was back in that, you know, orphanage and that at that time, and that room is still there, in that in him walking through what, what a gift, you also presented the space for him the sacred space for him to go through a healing, even if going through healings aren't always like, you know, da, da da di da - you know they can be very painful?
And it was and yes, and the orphanage asked him to do the graduation speech and he really grappled with that. And, you know, at that point, we were friends and my husband was I was friends with him. And he wanted to do it, he just didn't know if you could get through it without, you know, without sobbing. And he he is quite alone. And we all quite a little. And certainly the introduction of who he was why he was editing the speech, tore everybody apart. You know, in an emotional good way, but it was quite moving.
Tears are a good thing. I think that's the thing when sometimes like, like, you've been so vulnerable, sharing your story in your book in your speaking and everything. And that's scary for people but hear as you do it too. And that we allow ourselves give yourself permission to cry. And in this space to you know, I do this thing, let go let God or let the universe whatever it is for you and I literally surrender when I'm in anxiety or anything. And for a higher power, and then I just come back to being very present. But what a gift Did you give him? And that's something that's that's one of my next books. Genevieve, though, "What is the Gift in This?" because I truly believe in every challenge and obstacle that comes our way, as you know, definitely. There's gifts in there, if we can just look at those little gems that were being given. And the universe definitely was cooperating with you every step of the way. And you were asking, because asking, again, like you said can be very hard for some people thinking maybe they're, they're weak, or they might be a failure or something, all these things that go through our mind and to be kinder to ourselves.
Absolutely, yeah, asking, asking is hard, you know, does make you feel weak, and you know, ignorant. You know, we always fear a negative reaction from someone or feeling, you know, embarrassed. But we have to ask of each other and, and of the universe to I had to get used to that whole concept. But it it's asking the universe is asking yourself is asking, you can call it your higher self. You can call it God, your Soul, call it anything. But it's, it's invisible. But it's felt.
It is an invisible thread, like you said, that unites us all. That's why at the beginning, I talked about unity consciousness is something I hold and it is part of the show this unity consciousness to really celebrate our diversity and our uniqueness and our gifts and our voice and in a powerway powerful way that empowers us and inspires us and brings us together. So it uplifts us.
So that's funny that you mentioned invisible thread, a good friend of mine has been a mentor. She's an author, and that's the name of her book. And it's a true story of somebody she met. and wonderful. Yeah, yeah. So it's funny so we share sort of a human connection thread she and I and and you got it.
You also you didn't just work with those children because there's also you know, some children that are older in these homes and group homes and everything and you worked with some teenager girls and I want you to share a little bit what you know the common thread that's really among all of us. So again back to that invisible thread - the common thread. How did - what did you do with them to empower them? So they had a voice and what was the message that you brought to them through you being with them and very, I can I can see you there being with somebody and people know when somebody is really sitting there listening and when they're not right there's somewhere else or someone you're talking to someone and they're just waiting to dive in to say something so they're not really present but your presence with those girls, tell me a bit about that because let it be a teenage girl in a situation like that like in a group home or a facility away from their family, or just a teenage girl as you know, US growing up, you know It's not the easiest time back there high school junior high? I did.
Yes, it does. Right, right, all of us no matter where we are, and we get to that 13 or so we're all the most insecure than we ever will be. These these girls were, they have a special place in my heart and voice too. The teenagers - they know the score - little children, give them things, you give them attention that we bring pajamas and read with them and, you know, get them to smile, and they're more resilient. Some of the teenagers all of them know the score, you know, they probably won't get adopted past a certain age, which they understand. And they're living in a group setting with other girls or other boys, and they're all competing for love. It's about love. It's about the trauma that brought them to a place where they don't feel worthy. It's a place where they sometimes cause themselves harm, because they are so alone and lonely. And I had no idea how I was going to walk in there. And help and support and even have any of them talk to me, because I knew they were going to look at me and say what do you know about what I'm about? But I wanted, I didn't want to not try. I wanted them included and pajama program and I wanted to embrace them just like a little kids. So what happened just sort of happened?
Organically, I think you were looking for that.
Yes exactly. Right. So I wanted to, a friend of mine ran a magazine, children's magazine, written by kids for kids. And she said, let's have them write this magazine. So maybe they'll write poems or something, right. So I thought it would be fun that they could make their own magazine together. So when I propose to them all first time sitting at this table looking at me, like are you going to do and I proposed, we'll make a magazine together, you can name it, you can put your own art in it, or write poems. And that was the word that I mean, if they could have gotten up and walked out, without the stats on the sit back down, they would have said, Okay, forget what I'm telling you, I think would be a good idea. What do you want to do? And the number one thing they wanted to do was sing and rap. So I said, What do you think singing and rapping is? Their songs, their poems, that doesn't mean that they have to rhyme. But they have some kind of message. So why don't you write songs and write your rap. So, of course, that got them a little more interested. And before you know it within the eight of the 10, week number eight of 10 weeks that they had to come and be part of this program, they were fighting for who was going to be in the front. And who was going to get a byline, who is going to be able to have their arch, a company that is the magazine. And it was it was the most beautiful, organic 10 weeks. And at the end, we invited with them invite whoever they wanted, and some did have a family member who they invited me to come and we served treats and punch and things. And they read one of their poems and their book, The magazine was glossy, and they named it and everyone was just our hearts were beating out of our chest. That was an unbelievable, never planned that ceremony never knew how they would feel about it. It was just, it was amazing. And all they wanted was to be seen, to recognize to feel like they had done something that people thought was really cool. And it was beautiful.
Such a message of hope and love that you created. And I love that you just wanted to help again and you didn't know how. But you you still made that first step. And then it just unfolded again. Because that's that part we get to leave to the universe, because when we get into the 'how', we can block ourself and have these stories. Like you said, I'm not enough. I'm not smart enough. I don't know how to do that. We can have all that dialogue which doesn't empower us to move forward but you even with the fears and everything that you've had, you just stuck in there Genevieve, it's just it's such a gift for people to be hearing that. To know that you had all those experiences. And here again, you're helping these teenage girls and you -
I remember standing there. Yes.
So I remember standing there, I can still picture myself. I mean, I was just so nervous because I wasn't getting a response that first night. Like, why would I think I would get a response or look like them and act like them were what they were wearing, I didn't rap, I didn't sing. And I remember being so upset with myself and, and I didn't walk out of the room, I wasn't going to do that I was going to keep trying, I was trying to balance not being pushy. But trying to find a commonality, something that would respond to I remember where I like it was yesterday, those feelings of, you know, please let me find something that they react to, that I can grab on to and, you know, support them with. And it was it was revealed.
See, that's another great message that you're not trying to put something on them or make them go a certain path, like, oh, we're gonna do this this way. You know, you really listened and that's a big component of that, like you asked, and then, you know, you found out what they like singing and rapping, and then how you transform that by putting that into poetry and for them to create this and give them not only hope and love but like you said, they they're they're being seen, they're not forgotten. They're important. Each one of them, like one of us are so powerful. Now, you you had on your - now I had like you a vision board where you'd go in a magazine and glue things on and stick it in front of you. So you know, your subconscious mind can always see it. So it's picking up what you want. And but you made a vision board and you wanted to be on Oprah. But when you first did that, again, you thought that was such a big, big thing that had happened. So this let's go into this story.
Yes, it happened. Well, that's, um, that's my husband, you know, I met this great guy, like I said very early on. And again, it was to credit the universe for bringing the right person to me. And I am a very, like I said, I'm a leaper. And I pride myself on checking things off my to do list as fast as I can. And he is definitely a stop and smell the roses kind of guy. And an example is one he he rented the apartment above the wire owned in New York. And that's how we met. And we've gotten to know each other just a little bit and I got home one night, he was home before me in his apartment, and I got a message on my phone, come up right away, hurry up, come up as soon as you can, and come right upstairs, hurry up. I got nervous, I ran up there, the door was open, I opened the door. and there he is with the stool in front of the window looking at the sunset. And he had another stool next to him, he said come sit here, hurry up look at the sunset. And I said really, I was so afraid something was wrong. You want me to I say it's lovely. You know, I have work to do. And he said sit here. And so that was the first indication that I knew, you know, I was gonna have to find a way to slow down or else, you know.
Or the universe, or something might happen another way. You don't have to have illness or something to say, Hey, stop work. Yeah, rather know you had the sunset.
Yeah, I had him. Yeah, finding me of those moments. So he had said to me, you know, you need to talk to the universe. And you need to picture and you need to envision what you want. And, you know, what do you want. And I literally said I want to be on Oprah. That's the only way I can see that word can get out to where we can really make a difference. And I remember, as I said it, I said to myself, that's like, that's like a ridiculous request. Everybody. If you ask everybody whether they want to do if they want to grow their business, or they want to do something - and he took me to a park and I didn't know why, and he said, okay, we're sitting on this bench. Now close your eyes, close my eyes and tells me to envision myself talking to open the show. And I laughed. I said, Are you kidding me? He said, I'm not kidding, come on. And time after time. We did that on a bench. And I got into it. Again, I know that it was him. And I know that the universe was there with the support. And it happened.
And you got there because other people were telling them like Oprah about you and what you were doing in the world. I think that's awesome. So they were writing and then they wanted to find out who is this wonderful woman and what she's doing, you know?
Well, that's what they said. Yeah. When I finally got the courage to say how did you know because I had actually a friend that I went to school with, wrote to me and she said I heard you're doing this I started my own PR agency, I'd love to do some work for you pro bono if you want spread the word. And of course, I said, Yes, she got us an article in a magazine a few years before. And that helped, of course. So when they called now several years later and told me people were writing in, I could never have imagined that the shows, the response of the show would have been the way it was. It was unbelievable.
And I don't want to go into detail in the book about this. But in a short version, you went there, you're on the stage, but Oprah had a surprise for you. What was that?
Yes, yes. You have to watch the video. You can see it on YouTube or on my on my website. Yes. Yeah, it was a secret what she had done. So they prepared me for this full interview, which went about a quarter in until they turn the tables on me and pulled out this major surprise. But let's let everybody watch it in and see it themselves.
This is very cool. So as may 2020, you and your team have delivered more than 7 million good night's filled with magical gifts of pajamas and books to children nationwide, in 63 chapters run by volunteers in every state. How can people get involved with your program and spread the news and be part of this bigger vision in your mission?
Everything that you need to know if you want to learn more about pajama program is on pajama program.org. If there's anyone or anything specific you want to ask me I can make an introduction. You can reach me on my website or my email firstname.lastname@example.org. So it's, it's there. We always need support there is fun stuff to do even even in this crazy pandemic quarantine time. And I pray that light at the end of the tunnel is a real light for all of us. But yeah, we'd love we'd love some more love and some more support.
Thank you Genevieve, can you share with our listeners, the special gift that you'd like to gift them with today and all the links that you just mentioned? They're going to be below in the show notes so they can go and get the gift and also see that if they didn't get it when we were saying it. So what is this? I'm so excited about the gift that you're giving to our listeners. It's very special and very generous of you.
Are you talking about the the e-book. That's going to be in January. That's is that what we're talking about?
In January, we're going to do a special, we're going to do a special if you sign up on my website, GenevievePiturro.com, you will get notification from me. The beginning of January. Okay, all I can say about it for now.
I'd like to. I love talking to, you know, you're just such a heartfelt soul. And it's amazing what you've done in the world. It's just so fantastic to get this message out to as many people as possible, I would love to come to a close now kind of link it in from how we started this. And with her beautiful, heartfelt conversation with you reading from your book, from the author's note at the beginning of your book. And just to end it kind of hearing you saying this from from your heart. So if you could read that, that would be wonderful.
Sure, sure, and coincidentally, what we were just speaking, I didn't even realize it. So this is in when the book was ready to be published, and COVID hit and the whole racial injustice conversation grew to a point where we knew we had to talk about it together. I asked them to stop the press. So I could write an author's note to address those topics and they were accommodating. So this is part of the author's note at the beginning of the book. "Today, we stand on the precipice of a new normal personally and professionally. As we hope the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel remains bright. We must turn our hearts to another healing, and that is to eradicate the racial injustices that have been too many for too long. Planning the next chapters of our lives now, We're re-evaluating our choices, and finding dignified and just measures for inclusive, innovative, and empowering ways to come together. I find myself yearning for meaningful ways to make a difference and to contribute to the beauty I see in people and our world. And I believe you want that too."
Thank you Genevieve. Thank you for sharing from your Heart and Soul and that beautiful reading on living your purpose, your passion and finding your pajamas now. Namaste