Alumna Brings Comfort to Homeless Children in Shelters
May 30, 2012 – Georgetown alumna Kendra Stitt Robins (C’94, G’95, L’00) gave up her job at a law firm to start a project that now provides comfort, in the form of a nighttime package, to more than 25,000 homeless children a year nationwide.
Each of the recipients – who range in age from infants to 10-years-old – receives a free blanket, age-appropriate children’s book and stuffed animal from Project Night Night, which Robins began in her living room.
Robins, who holds a bachelor’s, master’s and law degree from Georgetown, said her inspiration for starting the organization came from her son.
“We had traveled a lot with our son and put him to bed in many places and began to notice that part of his routine was bringing his pillow and book and stuffed animal,” she explains. “It did not matter where he laid down his head as long as he had these comfort items.”
The mission of Project Night Night, which has provided almost 100,000 packages since its inception, is to provide the free packages to children who need “to feel secure, cozy, ready to learn and significant,” Robins says.
The project began with Robins arranging 1,200 bags by herself on her living room floor with a budget of about $10,000 dollars – money she raised from friends and family and a grant from the Safeway Foundation.
In 2005, Robins, who now lives in San Francisco with her husband, Billy, her 5-year-old daughter, Avery, and Cole, her 9-year-old son, left her job in corporate law to run Project Night Night full time.
A GROWING NONPROFIT
The nonprofit has since grown to include five permanent staff members, 10,000 volunteers nationwide and a budget of around $500,000.
“You don’t set it up thinking that [it would grow so much],” Robins says. “But I think somehow it touched a nerve with a lot of volunteers, and everyone thinks that they can help a little bit. This is an organization that thrives on people who can offer just a couple hours or where kids want to get involved.”
‘Spirit of Giving’
Robins credits her time at Georgetown and its Jesuit values, which continue to play a strong role in her life, she says, as an inspiration for giving back.
“The spirit of giving is always there,” Robins says of Georgetown. “It was an unparalleled experience. It gave me all the tools that I needed, and I’m very grateful.”