August 1, 2012

Kelsey says Goodbye

I can hardly believe that my time here at the House is almost over. The summer is winding down and I am sad to say goodbye to a place I have grown to love. I knew coming into this internship that I would enjoy my summer at the House and that I would learn a lot, but what I didn’t realize was that I would become so attached to it.

The old saying “time flies when you’re having fun” certainly applies to my summer at the House. I have learned so many invaluable lessons and can now appreciate how much hard work and coordination it takes to keep a non-profit like the Ronald McDonald House up and running.  From behind the scenes work with the database, to Annual Fund letters, and organizing and updating the Luminary project, one of the House’s largest fundraisers, I was introduced to so many different aspects of the House and couldn’t be more grateful for the experience. It was an incredible opportunity to work with the knowledgeable staff and dedicated volunteers.

Coming into this internship I wanted to gain experience with a non-profit. I absolutely achieved this and so much more. I have loved my time here and getting to know the staff, volunteers and families. It will certainly hold a special place in my heart. As I prepare to move back to Chapel Hill for my senior year, I am sad to leave, but excited to return for future visits.
One last visit with Ronald before I go!

July 16, 2012

B I N G O!

In my time spent at the House so far, I’ve come to realize that Mondays are the best days around here.  That’s because every Monday night around dinnertime, families get to hang out in the dining room playing games and winning prizes at Bingo Night!  

Bingo Night provides the families staying at the House a chance to visit and check in with each other. It allows families to take  an often much needed break from their stressful situations and even gives them a chance win new baby clothes or maybe a pack of diapers.  Siblings and younger family members also enjoy a fun night with House families, playing a game and maybe even winning a new teddy bear or a toy car.  

It's a great sight to see the dining room packed with families relaxing and enjoying themselves on Bingo night!

One RMH family catches up while they play Bingo.
Bingo Night is a great tradition at our House, and it wouldn’t be possible without our wonderful Bingo volunteers.  Every Monday night, these volunteers come to the House to help with everything from organizing the prizes to calling Bingo. Bingo night is special for another reason- it is also McDonald’s night at the House! 

Because of the generous donations from our supporters like you throughout the year, the families have lots of goodies to pick from when they win a game.  Prizes range anywhere from diapers, clothes and bibs to Build-A-Bears and Barbies.  There is always something for everyone!

Some of the great prizes the families could win!
Bingo winners happily show off their  prizes!

I look forward to next Monday's round of Bingo and McDonald's! Until then...


June 27, 2012

Q & A with Summer Intern Laine Isaacs

For this week’s post, I’m going to introduce you to fellow Ronald McDonald House intern, Laine Isaacs.  Laine was a former patient at Brenner Children’s Hospital and stayed at the House with her family while she was being treated for a brain tumor seven years ago. I have loved getting to know Laine and it’s been really fun having such a great person to work with every day.  Next time you’re at the House make sure you say hello to her!

Kelsey: So Laine, how does it feel being back at the Ronald McDonald House this summer?
Laine: I’m really excited to be back!  I wanted the opportunity to give back to a House that has been so great to me and my family.  Also, there is such a great and knowledgeable staff that works here and I look forward to learning from them. 

Kelsey: Is this your first time back since your stay at the House?
Laine:  No it’s not.  I have really enjoyed staying connected with the House after my stay here.  I still volunteer when I can, I’m a member of the Family Advisory Council, and I was even involved in the groundbreaking ceremony when the new addition to the House began construction in 2008.  It’s safe to say the House holds a very special place in my heart.  

Kelsey: I can see why it would!  So what led you to stay here in the first place?
Laine: In June 2005 I was diagnosed with a germinoma, a cancerous brain tumor and I began receiving radiation treatment at Brenner Children’s Hospital.  Because my family lived in Boone, NC, we were able to stay at the House while I was receiving treatment.

Kelsey: What was your experience like staying at the House?
Laine: It was great.  It was very welcoming and the staff was warm and informative.  I was made to feel like family at a time when I needed it most. 

Kelsey: What are some nice memories you have from your stay?
Laine: I remember breakfast being a very busy time at the House. In the mornings, the kitchen would be filled with families getting something to eat before heading over to the hospital and we would all take that time to check in and see how everyone was doing.  Being back now, it makes me really happy to walk by the kitchen and see it filled with families chatting with one another. 

Kelsey: What are some differences between your stay at the House back then and your summer here now?
Laine:  Well the most obvious difference is the size of the House.  The number of rooms has doubled since I stayed here in 2005.  What I’ve noticed being back here is that even after the expansion, the warmth and love between families remains the same.  I would have thought that the larger House size may have affected the families’ ability to bond and interact with each other, but that is not the case.

Kelsey: What sorts of things are you doing this summer while working at the House?
Laine: As a development intern, I’ll be gaining further knowledge in non-profit communications.  So far, I have enjoyed being a part of BINGO nights on Mondays and working with the Friends’ Luminary Project. 

Kelsey: That sounds great! Did you ever take part in BINGO nights while you were a guest here?
Laine: No, I never felt well enough to participating in BINGO night myself, but my mom did occasionally.  I am very happy to be able to help out with it now and I’m so glad it is still available to families. 

Kelsey: So after you leave the House this summer where are you headed?
Laine: I’m a student at Appalachian State University, so I will be moving back to Boone. 

Kelsey: What are you studying at App?
Laine: I’m studying public relations. 

Kelsey: Me too!  What do you want to do after you graduate?
Laine: I would like to work for a non-profit.  I would love to work for an organization like the Ronald McDonald House.

Kelsey: Me too! I guess it’s a good thing we are both interning here this summer!   


June 6, 2012

Meet Kelsey, Our Summer Intern and Newest RMH Blogger!

My name is Kelsey Lemieur and I’m lucky enough to spend my summer as a development intern here at the Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem!

For the last two weeks, I’ve been one of the new faces hanging around the Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem and I couldn’t be happier to be here!  Of course, starting work at a new place is always a little bit intimidating at first, but I should never have been worried about coming to work at RMH.  Every single person that I have met at the House is so incredibly kind and welcoming, I already feel right at home.  

I am currently a public relations student at UNC-Chapel Hill (go Tar Heels!) and will begin my senior year in the fall.  I’m very interested in working for a non-profit once I graduate and am so grateful to be able to spend my summer here at the House learning what it takes to keep one of the best non-profits up and running. 

So far I’ve been able to help sell Sport a Shirt Share a Night T-shirts at Forsyth Medical Center with some of the incredible House volunteers, learn how to update the House computer databases, sort through lots of donations from a local elementary school and help streamline information for the winter Luminary Project, and that was just in my first two weeks!

But what I’m most excited about is getting to share my experiences from this summer with you here on the House Blog.  I plan to write about the many exciting events that occur at the House from Bingo Nights to Pet Therapy.  I hope to talk to some families and volunteers and write about their experiences at the House too.  For my next post I’m going to introduce you to fellow intern Laine Isaacs, a former patient of Brenner Children’s Hospital who stayed at the House with her family seven years ago.   Make sure you keep an eye out for my posts all summer long!  


November 18, 2011

Meet the RMH Therapy Dogs, Part 4: Mystery

Today’s post is very mysterious. Why you ask? Well, it’s about a mysterious dog of mysterious lineage. And appropriately enough, this dog’s name is none other than Mystery!  Here’s to hoping that this interview solves some things…

Watson: So Mys, can I call you that? No? Okay. Well, let’s start things off with one of my favorite get-to-know-you questions. What’s your favorite food?
Mystery: Pizza, but my mom and dad don't leave it close enough to the edge of the counter.

Watson: May I suggest jumping? Or perhaps employing the use of a kitchen chair? Just a few ideas. Now sticking with food. Chicken or beef?

Mystery: Yes.

Watson: Chicken or Beef?

Mystery: Yes.

Watson: Oh haha. You kill me. Alright, tell me… I have been dying to ask you this… who’s your favorite celebrity?

Mystery: Yoda.

Watson: Like Yoda I as well do. Short and green he is. Since of other animals we speak, what animal be you if you could not dog be?

Mystery: A Cheetah, then those little grey things with the fluff on the tail would not get away.

Watson: Rats with tails those squirrels! When you see one, what’s the first thing that goes through your mind?

Mystery: GET OUT OF MY YARD!!!!

Watson: Such… enthusiasm! You know, I know this great person you can talk to about that… Okay moving on. Outside of visiting RMH, what is your favorite thing to do?

Mystery: Eat Pizza.

Watson: I’m going to go out on a limb here with the next question, by the readers want to know. What’s your favorite thing to smell?

Mystery: The pizza delivery man.

Watson: You are certainly a dog full of mystery. Pizza, Yoda, extreme reactions to squirrels… But one thing that’s not mysterious about you is your love for Ronald McDonald House kids.

Mystery: I love them!

Watson: And they love you! What’s your favorite part of hanging out with them?

Mystery: The belly rubs oooohhh yeah the belly rubs definitely!

Watson: And if you could say something to an RMH kid who has had a really hard day, what would you say?

Mystery: Whisper in my ears what is wrong. They are very good for listening and I will kiss away all your tears.

Thank you so much Mystery for sharing with us today and thank you for all you do for the kids at the Ronald McDonald House! Next time, I’m chatting with Rocket Dog so be sure to check back. Now, I’m off to investigate some Italian food. For some mysterious reason, I’m really craving it…

We are grateful to Mystery and her wonderful owner Kym, for helping us with this interview and for making a difference in the lives of sick children and their families through their participation in the Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem Therapy Dog Program. 

October 25, 2011

Meet the RMH Therapy Dogs, Part 3: Bandit and Dobby

This week I’d like to introduce you to a feisty pair of dogs who bring a lot of humor to the RMH Therapy Dog Program. Pug, Bandit, and Dobby, a Boston Terrier, were nice to sit down with me to chat about their lives in and outside of the Ronald McDonald House.
Watson: Thanks for spending a little time with me today you two. Tell me a bit about yourselves, what is your favorite thing to do other than visiting RMH?
Bandit: Barking at the moon. That’s what Mommy thinks I’ m doing. I’m really trying to get in touch with my mothership!

Dobby: Playing ball!

Watson: Interesting... and Bandit, have you ever made contact with the… never mind, I think I know the answer to that. Moving on. This is a tough one but tell me, what’s your favorite food?

Bandit: Anything that Mommy is eating.

Dobby: Anything that Mommy is eating.

Watson: You are preachin’ to the choir! Beef or chicken?

Bandit: Chicken, because I could actually catch a live one myself!
Dobby: Beef. I’m allergic to chicken.

Watson: You can catch a live chicken? Whoa. Okay, so tell me, if you could be any other kind of animal, what kind of animal would you be and why? I’m guessing it’s not a chicken.

Bandit: A human because then I could always have whatever my Mommy is eating.

Dobby: A human because then I could play pro ball!

Watson: Yes, just like the greatest quarterback of all time Peyton Manning! Did you know he passed for 408 in the 1996 Citrus Bowl? He’s Tennessee's all-time leading passer. Beat Auburn in the 1997 SEC Championship. AUBURN. They are like, really, really good. And did you know he’s a Pi Beta Kappa?!

Dobby: I meant basketball.

Watson: Oh, er… please complete the following sentence: “If dog’s ruled the world… “

Bandit: If dogs ruled the world, no one would ever go hungry. There would always be plenty of whatever Mommy is eating for everyone!”

Dobby: If dogs ruled the world, no one would fight because we’d all be having fun playing ball together!

Watson: Great answers. I think that if dog's ruled the world there would be no more sick kids.  No more cancer and no more accidents.  It would be a pretty wonderful place!  Speaking of dog’s doing great things, what is the best part of being a RMH Therapy Dog
Bandit: Getting petted, loved, and adored by all the children, their parents, and the staff and getting to love them back. The kitchen always has good smells too!
Watson: If you could say something to a RMH kid who has had a really hard day, what would you say?
Dobby: It always helps to cuddle up in the arms of someone you love to take a nice, long, nap and dream of the things that make you happy.
Watson: One final question, what’s your favorite type of grass?

Bandit: “Backyard grass is the best. But, sometimes, front yard grass is good too, when we get the chance. After all, variety is the spice of life!”
Thank you both for sharing today. Next week, I’m talking to one of our more elusive dogs. Right now, I’ll keep it a mystery…

We are grateful to Dobby, Bandit and their wonderful owner Sherrie, for helping us with this interview and for making a difference in the lives of sick children and their families through their participation in the Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem Therapy Dog Program. 

September 21, 2011

Meet the RMH Therapy Dogs, Part 2: Tank

Watson here.  For the second installment in my Pet Therapy Interview series, I had the chance to interview the biggest member of the RMH Therapy Dog team. He's a tank. No, literally... his name is Tank and he's an English Mastiff.
Watson: Tank, it's so nice to finally get the chance to sit down and talk. I have been dying to know, what’s your favorite food?
Tank: It all depends, if I want to just enjoy a good chew it’s gotta be raw bones. If I am learning a new trick then Bob, my trainer, gives me pork rinds. They are not good for me but boy are they good. I am practicing catching popcorn in mid-air, that’s a fun game

Watson: Wow, that takes mad skills. Impressive. Okay, now for a tough question. If you could be any other kind of animal, what kind of animal would you be and why?

Tank: I would be a manatee, I like the slow life style and nobody ever attacks a manatee.

Watson: And they get to live in Florida. I hear it’s really nice down there. Do you have siblings Tank?

Tank: Nope, I am an only dog.

Watson: Lucky. Just kidding. Alright, now if you could share a large, medium-rare sirloin with any of the following dogs, who would it be? Lassie, Benji, Beethoven, Eddie from Frasier or someone else?

Tank: Beethoven would be fun to talk to but you look like a nice guy.

Watson: I’m so flattered. To be named along with a superstar like Beethoven, wow. Alright let’s talk about what people really want to know. What is the best part of being a RMH therapy dog?

Tank: The hugs.

Watson: And if you could say anything to an RMH kid who is having a really hard day, what would you say?

Tank: It will be okay, tell me about all of your problems I am a great listener.
Watson: Thank you Tank. Okay one last question. Beef or chicken?
Tank: Beef
Watson: Thanks for sitting down with me today big guy.

Check back next week for part three!


We are grateful to Tank and his wonderful owner Bob, for helping us with this interview and for making a difference in the lives of sick children and their families through their participation in the Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem Therapy Dog Program.