Silly PJs at Lincoln Highlight Serious Problem in City
Today is PJ Day as decreed by Joppa, a local nonprofit that advocates on behalf of the homeless and has a strong DMPS connection.
Lorie Williamson is the wife of Lincoln High School principal Paul Williamson and the Chairperson of Joppa’s PJ Day Iowa event so it stands to reason that Lincoln was one of 27 schools in central Iowa where students showed up for class in pajamas as part of a consciousness-raising aimed at providing assistance to area homeless people. Jackson Elementary and Cowles Montessori were two other DMPS schools participating.
There’s more to the serious topic than the silly sight of PJs at school. Students conduct supply drives to collect necessary items for donation to area shelters.
“There are also education videos we have made to show to our students as well, said Paul Williamson in the student commons at lunchtime on Friday while students swirled around him in the dress code appointed for the occasion. “We will also be offering seminars next week to benefit the homeless people of Des Moines.”
In case you’re wondering, the group’s name is not an acronym. According to the Joppa website, the definition of the work is as follows:
joppa (jop · pa \ ˈjäp-pə \ n. & adj):
- Community with the first outreach in recorded history
- A place of refuge, anonymity and acceptance
- An ancient seaport providing vital supplies
- A Hebrew word (“Yafo”) that means “beautiful”
- A local community of unconditional love, support and hope for the homeless
The group’s mission is “to create a community of unconditional love, support and hope for the homeless, as we work together to end homelessness in Iowa.”
Melanie Guanci is the Communications Director for Joppa and she was at Lincoln in uniform on Friday.
“This is the second year for PJ Day,” she said, “and the idea behind the pajamas is to ’put homelessness to bed.’”
So if you were driving on the Southside Friday afternoon and spotted a six-foot tall pink rabbit on the street, don’t worry. He was probably on his way home from school.
Everyone should be so fortunate.