When a Pillow Means so Much More

To send the perfect message to someone you love, all you need is a pillowcase and a pen.

Sometimes a few words can send a big message.

When parents and guardians bring their children to St. Joseph’s Indian School at the start of every school year, we have pillowcases and pens ready.

Pillowcases and pens? Seems like a strange combination, right?

However, it’s the perfect combination for parents to write heartfelt messages on their children’s pillowcases, something to comfort them each night. That way, if a child is homesick or needs a couple more ounces of love after a long day, they can squeeze their pillow with personal messages in the handwriting of the person they love the most.

Messages like this one …

“Hi, baby! I love you and I’ll miss you every day. You be good and have fun!”

This year, the pillowcases mean even more. St. Joseph’s has had to limit student getting checkouts from campus in response to COVID-19. We’ve created a bubble of health and we do our best to maintain that by limiting outside exposure to our students and staff. It’s not been easy, but everyone understands it’s in effort to keep everyone as safe as possible.

A note on this pillowcase to a parent reads, “I love you so much, and you make me so happy and make me feel better.”

Pillowcases for Parents

Children aren’t the only people who miss their loved ones, so that’s why we did a little something …  a little something to show parents and guardians just how much the kids miss and love them.

We got more pillowcases and pens. Only this time, the kids wielded the pens and wrote notes to their moms, dads, grandmas — anyone who holds a piece of their heart and needed a message. They also drew pictures if they couldn’t find the right words.

“I miss you, Mom! I love you and I will see you soon!”

A child sent virtual hugs and kisses with this pillowcase and wrote, “I love you a whole bunch,” to go along with their colorful drawings of a horse, hearts and stars.
This pillowcase featured a drawing of a bear with the message, “I love and miss all of you.”

Staff carefully mailed the pillowcases home as a surprise. Now as students get tucked in with their personalized pillow, their family members in reservations and communities in the far reaches of the state can do the same.

Sometimes, it’s the little things like this that make hard times bearable. Sometimes, a pillow that reminds you of your mom, your dad, your grandma or grandpa is just what you need in that moment.

Other small items were sent home with the pillowcases, such as these beaded necklaces.

Philámayayethank you — to all the donors around the world who continue to help St. Joseph’s Indian School remain a safe place for Native American children to live, learn and grow. Also, to parents for entrusting us with their care. Doing this blessed work is so important, and we are grateful.

Author: St. Joseph's Indian School

At St. Joseph's Indian School, our privately-funded programs for Lakota (Sioux) children in need have evolved over 90 years of family partnership, experience and education. Because of generous friends who share tax-deductible donations, Native American youth receive a safe, stable home life; individual counseling and guidance; carefully planned curriculum based on Lakota culture and individual student needs and tools to help build confidence, boost self-esteem and improve cultural awareness. All of this helps children to live a bright, productive, possibility-filled future.

6 thoughts on “When a Pillow Means so Much More”

  1. This is a wonderful idea…especially since it can be done “both ways”! Everyone can use a special pillowcase..

  2. My father LOUIS F. HATFIELD lost his life last March 13th, 2020, due to heart failure which is so sad due to he had the biggest heart when it came to ST Joesephs. He donated tons of money monthly to their cause. He wanted to donate time but couldn’t travel like a normal person. He was paralyzed from the chest down. Due to a work related accident.
    I, Michelle k. Franklin wish to continue his legacy of service by becoming a donor to your organization because of my shared love of native American history and culture. If I could id do a pillowcase of encouragement to each child first. Second I’d do a pillow case of love and gratitude to staff members and caregivers.
    I’m still grieving my father and going through a tough probate process due to a family member who wants to seize and sell all his native American assets for the money. I will not allow my fathers precious collection be lost so every penny is for him and of course the legal team helping me secure his estate. Im his only

    Please know, ill be decorating a pillowcase in St joesephs name for my fathers memorial box(it would be cool to have the st. Joseph’s logo) and after his estate affairs are settled I will continue donating in his honor.
    . Thank u and GOD BLESS

    1. Michelle, we are saddened about the loss of your father and you are in our prayers during your time of grieving. That’s very kind of you to want to continue his legacy by supporting our organization, and to offer a pillowcase for each student. To coordinate sending this gift, please email saintjosephs@stjo.org.

  3. We, my wife and I are UNABLE TO CONTRIBUTE to the work you do.
    We are classified as “ELDERLY” {Me 85 of age. my spouse 80} and income BARELY covers our expenses.
    WE each have huge medical expenses which exceed insurance coverage.

    RESPECTFULLY I am asking you to remove us from your MAILING LIST as it is depressing to see the need an not be able to help.

    Thank you.

    1. We completely understand, John. Would it be possible for you to please email saintjosephs@stjo.org with this request? We will need your mailing address to look you up, as your name is not enough information. Thank you for reaching out and we will take care of this for you as soon as we receive an email.

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