Katerina Brosda and several volunteers show some of the PJs donated for the Pajama Program.
MIAMI – In 2008, Katerina Brosda, a broker with Brosda and Bentley Realtors in Miami, was asked by a friend to donate some pajamas and new books to children in need. Not only did she donate, but she also organized drives at her children’s schools.
“We made our first deliveries to local area hospitals and foster homes on Christmas Eve,” says Brosda, mom to Anastasia and Sebastian. There she met a six-year-old girl who was terminally ill with brain cancer.
“She was around Anastasia’s age at the time, and I still get goosebumps thinking about this little girl,” she says. “I remember her smile as I was reading a book to her. It made such an impact on me.”
That experience cemented her commitment to the Pajama Program, a nationwide charity that provides new pajamas and books to children in need. This was the same year – 2008 – that Brosda opened her brokerage, after starting her real estate career in 2003.
“These children live in shelters and group homes and are shuffled between temporary living facilities,” says Brosda. “Many of them have been abused or abandoned, and have never enjoyed the simple comfort of having a mother tuck them in at bedtime and read to them.”
Today, Brosda is the president of the Miami Chapter of the Pajama Program, a 501(c)(3) organization, where she continues to organize drives and help other groups do so as well.
“The pajamas and books make [the children] feel normal, like regular kids included in a normal part of life,” she says.
Brosda continues to throw a PJ party in the 8-floor high-rise where her office is located.
“It’s for everyone in our building,” she says. “It’s not mandatory to wear PJs, but we do ask them to bring some new ones to donate. Many of our buyers and sellers come to the events and donate, too.”
Brosda says that helping others is something that is instilled in her DNA.
“My mom and dad inspire me to help children in need. I live by their example,” she says. In fact, it’s a family affair: Her husband, Alexander, and children help collect and deliver the pajamas and books.