Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Volunteers needed in the House

You've probably heard about Ronald McDonald House? Yep, the place headed-up by that red headed clown with the big shoes who likes to hang out with a cheeseburger dressed in prison stripes.

Well, first-up I should say that I work in a PR capacity for McDonald's Australia, and the House - along with the other activities funded by Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC)- is an area where we dedicate a lot of PR time and effort.

The services that RMHC provides for families going through what is probably the most difficult time of their lives is simply outstanding.

The cornerstone of the services is Ronald McDonald House, which provides a home-away-from-home for regional families needing to stay together while their child undergoes treatment for a serious illness.

I've been involved with the Houses in Melbourne, Hobart and Perth over the past eight years and it still affects me every time I visit. Many of the kids that helped us out with media opportunities, or came along to launch events, are no longer with us. On a positive note, many more still are and catching up with lost schooling through the Ronald McDonald Learning Program.

So, why am I blogging about the House? Well, the people that make the House in Subiaco tick are the volunteers who come along and help out with all the general housekeeping duties... AND WE NEED MORE, RIGHT NOW!

I was having a chat with West Leederville mum Simone Hart and thought her story about getting involved was fairly typical of what I've heard from other vounteers over the years.

When Simone’s daughter started full time schooling, she found she had three hours spare on a Thursday morning and immediately thought of the House.

“I approached the House and let them know of my limited availability. They were so flexible, and I have been doing my Thursday morning shift for almost a year now. It's very easy, but at the same time so very rewarding."

Simone cleans the bedrooms at Ronald McDonald House after the families leave, preparing rooms for new families to enter. She also helps tidy the communal areas and play rooms, assisted by three other volunteers.

“There are plenty of ways you can help at Ronald McDonald House. I didn’t really want to be in contact with the children – it would be too challenging for me. Instead I decided to assist with housekeeping.

“The volunteers I work with are just magnificent. One of the ladies I work with on Thursdays has been volunteering at the House for 18 years, she’s so admirable.

“It is a completely rewarding, selfless, and uplifting experience. Cleaning up is the last thing on people’s minds when they are experiencing suffering, and it's the least I can do to help.

“I’m no hero, I just want to do my bit. It makes me feel good, but I don’t do it for myself, I do it for the families in need. We go through life thinking of ourselves too much. For just three hours a week, I can make a difference – anyone can.”

So if you've got some spare time, or you know of a friend or relative who might be able to help, phone Nola Smith on 9382 2960. You can also help us out by sharing the link to this post with your own email list.

Sorry to come over all serious on you, but knowing the great work this charity does I'll do whatever I can to help - here's hoping you feel the same :)

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