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As she was carted between 10 foster families, one "angel" always stuck by Narissa's side.

When Narissa’s father passed away when she was eight, things at home started to unravel. Her mother suffered from a mental illness and was unable to care for her, meaning she was placed into foster care at the age of 10.

For six years, Narissa was supported by The Pyjama Foundation. Although she lived with 10 different foster family placements throughout her childhood, her volunteer mentor and Pyjama Angel, Annie, moved with her each time.

"I would not be who I am now without the love and support of my Pyjama Angel, Annie." (Image: Supplied)

Annie's constant support and love during those years made a huge difference in Narissa's life and educational future. Narissa completed high school and is now about to finish her four-year degree at university.

This is what Narissa has to say about the profound impact Annie had on her life as her Pyjama Angel...

"I went into care because my mum suffers from a mental illness and after my Dad passed away when I was eight, things at home just broke down.

There were times when I was in a place where the only person who truly believed in who I was and what I could do, her name was Annie, my Pyjama Angel.

Annie helped me build up my skills, particularly in English and writing. She was much more than my Pyjama Angel. She was someone who stood up for me, someone who spoke up for me someone who encouraged me.

She's a real fighter, and she never gave up on me when a lot of people have, when a lot of people decided to step back. But Annie kept on fighting for me to be who I was.

I know that there were nights where she just cried. She just sat there and cried with me because I let things out that I had shared with very few people.

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I know what it’s like to be a number. I know what it’s like to be on the edge. Most of my life I’ve felt very strongly that I was an outcast of some sort, that I was marginalised and I was.

Annie pushed me to see that I was better than what I thought I was. I wanted to be someone who would make a difference and change lives but I couldn’t believe I could do that until Annie told me I could.

She made a very big difference in my life I would not be who I am now without the love and support of Annie."

There are 50,000 children like Narissa living in the Australian foster care system, a number that has more than doubled in the last ten years. 92 per cent of foster children are below the average reading level at age seven, 75 per cent of these children do not finish school and 50 per cent of the homeless come from a care background.

Despite the worrying number of children in foster care, there is very limited support available for the foster families. Foster carers are stretched and exhausted - this sector desperately needs assistance. By instilling purpose and direction into the lives of Australian children in foster care, we can change their aspirations and prospects.

The Pyjama Foundation believes if we empower these children with education, then we can change the direction of their life.

The Pyjama Foundation believes if we empower these children with education, then we can change the direction of their life. (Image: Supplied)

Empowering children in foster care with learning, life skills and confidence, The Pyjama Foundation recruits, screens and trains happy volunteers from the local community to be a constant in these children's often turbulent lives.

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These committed volunteers are matched with a child in the foster care system whom they visit in their foster homes once a week to share the love of learning. The volunteers deliver a specifically designed literacy and numeracy model which encapsulates the theory of making learning fun. The positive one-on-one mentoring program also has a strong emphasis on life skills which is very valuable to these children.

Contact with a charismatic adult, who inspires a child to engage in new experiences, develops a positive can-do mindset and builds strength and hope will optimise healthy brain development and learning.

The Pyjama Foundation are encouraging individuals, school, businesses and communities to wear their comfiest pyjamas on National Pyjama Day, Friday the 21st of July.

To show your support for the important work The Pyjama Foundation are doing with our children in foster care, please register your interest here and donate to this wonderful cause.

For more information about how you can volunteer your time to become a Pyjama Angel and change the life of a foster child like Narissa, please head to The Pyjama Foundation website and Facebook page.

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