Things have been a little quiet on the blog as of late, but I have a really good excuse for it. I’ve been in Chicago taking part in a full immersion experience learning about the Ronald McDonald House Charities which offers families a home away from home where they can stay close by their hospitalized child.
You see, a few months back McDonald’s announced that they were taking applications for ambassadorships with RMHC. Meaning, that they were looking for people who would volunteer not only in getting the word out about the very worthwhile charity, but also volunteering their time at the local houses/chapters.
And as I’ve mentioned many times before, it’s very important for me to give back when I can. I’ve had several times in my life when my community (and that includes you) has rallied around me in times of duress.
Three of my children were born prematurely and spent considerable time in the NICU. When that happened, people made us meals and helped in a variety of ways that made things much easier for us during a difficult time.
When my baby Nina died, it felt like our entire community pulled together to take care of us. It was a very dark time and I don’t think I would’ve survived it if it hadn’t been for all of the people that supported me while I grieved.
And of course you know about the car accident that nearly took me life. I certainly received a ton of support while going through that ordeal.
So, I decided that it was time for me to do something significant. Something truly worthwhile to start paying back the debt I feel that I owe. A debt that will be a joy to pay back.
And apparently McDonald’s agreed that I had something worthwhile to offer as I am now one of their RMHC Brand Ambassadors.
Because I’ve been so busy with learning all about the charity, I’m sort of wiped. For today I’m just going to touch on a few things we did while in the immersion experience. When I get back home, I will write a more detailed and thoughtful post sharing what I experienced.
Lots of emotional stuff and practical stuff which will help me educate you on how RMHC impacts so many and what people can do and have been doing to support this very worthwhile cause.
But for today, let me tell you the basics of what we did…
There were five RMHC Brand Ambassadors chosen. Myself, Meagan, Tracy, Brittany and Kathy. We all flew into Chicago from different parts of the country. On our first day we toured Lurie Children’s Hospital and the RMH located by the hospital which was quite the emotional experience.
It’s really hard to see sick children, as I’m sure you can understand. But the real point of the tour was to show us all of the ways that RMHC is there to support patients and families alike. Seeing that support in action is necessary to understand how important RMHC is when it comes to helping families during very trying times. Even if it made me feel deeply sad.
Today we toured the Hyde Park RMH (much more on this in a coming post) where we spent time not only touring the house, but also making welcome bags for the guests. Each bag was stuffed with snacks, puzzle books, paper and pens and other items including a McDonald’s gift card. Just a little something for each family to have upon arrival.
And after we stuffed the bags, we delivered them to the rooms. It felt really good to do even that one small thing. Even small things can make a big impact when times are bleak.
Besides touring the houses and hospital, we got to meet some of the people involved with the charity. We met with some pretty inspiring people like J.C. Gonzalez-Mendez, the RMHC President and CEO who was just downright incredible. Again, more on this soon.
And we also met with Nick Karavites who is a McDonald’s restaurant owner/operator who is a huge supporter of RMHC and the founder of the Rock The House event which has raised a tremendous amount of money for the charity.
What struck me most about these giving people is that they help because they want to. It’s all volunteering and they do it because it matters to them. The kids and families matter to them. No other motive. And I find that so inspiring.
As I said, I just wanted to give you a glimpse into what I’ve been doing the past three days. This post truly doesn’t do RMHC justice, but I have plenty of time to share my thoughts and experiences with you as I will be an ambassador for an entire year.
My goal is not only for myself to be involved with the charity, but my family as well. How that will unfold, I’m not sure as of yet but I have some ideas.
I do know that I will be volunteering at my local house/chapter in Boston and that I will be hosting a fundraiser that will benefit RMHC. And that’s a good start.
How about you? Have you ever visited a Ronald McDonald House? Do you have any experiences to share? I’d love to hear about it.
This is not a sponsored post. I am volunteering in my role as a RMHC Brand Ambassador.