As a Catholic High School, McNicholas requires students to expand their experiences outside the classroom by committing to service in their greater community. One of the agencies where many spend their hours volunteering include The Ronald McDonald House, located near the downtown campus of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati (RMH) offers flexible student volunteer opportunities any time for any day of the week. The volunteer activities range vastly, and can even be executed outside of the House.
The association houses families, national and international, with children in critical conditions who are being treated at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
“I think volunteering is very rewarding for each individual and can help prepare high school students for whatever may come next,” Director of Volunteers Mike Weinberg said. “You learn the importance of giving back, hard work, and community.”
According to Weinberg, volunteer activities range from making snacks, giving out meals, and directing activities. For volunteers 18 years of age or older, opportunities like serving at the front desk, cleaning, and driving the organization’s shuttle are available. “We have opportunities for people to help away from the House [as well, like] leading a fundraiser, donating items from our wishlist or preparing takeway bags for the families,” he added.
Librarian assistant Jane Ray, who volunteers monthly at the House with her sorority alumni group, has participated in a range of ways, from crafting with the kids to preparing snacks for the families. “The kids appreciate even the smallest gesture of support… the smallest gesture to you is the biggest gesture to the people there,” she said. “Going there makes a difference. You really are impacting lives.”
Senior Taylor Osborne, who has volunteered by collecting, boxing, and delivering food donations said, “I enjoyed [volunteering] because it gave me a chance to help the parents of those children who needed it the most. It was rewarding because these parents need it the most and are too busy focusing on their children when they need proper nutrition too.”
“RMH is a home away from home for families with sick children,” Weinberg said. “We provide a sense of normalcy to children as they heal, a room to sleep in, activities, meals, schooling, etc.”
To volunteer, visit the volunteer page on the Cincinnati Ronald McDonald House website, select availability, receive information, and apply. Volunteers abide by the HEART statement, meaning volunteers should be “Helpful, Encouraging, Attentive, Respectful, and Thankful,” Weinberg said.
Weinberg added, “Our goal is to provide a way to give back, no matter your age or time commitment.”
Families of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of greater Cincinnati share what the House means to them in a video published by the House entitled In Their Words. “Being in the House basically afforded me, and I think most families who live here, the ability to take normal life chores away from your day so that you have the time that you need to focus on your child,” one mother said in the video.
(Featured image, photo courtesy of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati.)