March 31, 2010

Welcome to our blog!

Welcome to the brand new Ronald McDonald House of Winston- Salem Blog, I am so glad you stopped by!

I'm Laura, the House development assistant, tweeter, face-booker and blogger! Though I have only been an official staff member for a couple of months, my journey with the Ronald McDonald House actually began in the summer of 2009 as a volunteer.

Hanging out with Ronald!

When I first considered becoming a volunteer in the Ronald McDonald House Family Room at Brenner Children's Hospital, I knew only a little bit about the House mission. I knew that the House was a place for families to stay when their child was in the hospital and I knew that many of the families using the House often had no where else to go. But what I didn’t know is that the Ronald McDonald House is more that just a place to stay. It is a home.

One of our living rooms

Our house is in the heart of Winston-Salem’s historic Ardmore neighborhood and it is a beautiful place, both inside and out. In many ways, our house is just like your house. Families staying with us can sit down together for a home-cooked meal, pitch in with small chores, help themselves to anything in the kitchen (we always have tons of treats) and even run a load of laundry while they watch TV. We don’t want them to feel like they are in a hotel; we want them to feel like they are at home!

The view of WFU Baptist Medical Center from our front door

We also make sure our families have plenty of access to fun things to do while they stay with us—from crafts, to bingo, to therapy dog visits! And we are blessed to be the only Ronald McDonald House in the world with a full-time Family Support Program! Our Family Support Program Coordinator, Chacy SanFilippo, assists families coping with their child's illness through hospital visits, support groups and stress management activities. Chacy’s specially trained team of volunteers keeps our house bustling with all kinds of therapeutic activities and events. They are great!

Not only do we provide families from outside of Forsyth County with a place to stay near the hospital, our hospital Family Rooms provide the families of all pediatric patients with a cozy place to sit, grab a snack and check their email just a few steps from their child. Volunteers at the Brenner Children's Hospital and Forsyth Medical Center Family Rooms answer questions, give directions and keep the rooms full of food, books and magazines.

Forsyth Family Room Kitchen

And with 17 (soon to be 35) families staying in the house every night, a team of wonderful, loving volunteers and a staff of 12, things can get a little crazy around here! :)

Did I mention we are in the middle of a massive construction project too!?

From 17 to 35 bedrooms!

I hope you will come back by the blog to see what’s new in our big, busy house! I'll share stories and photos of all of the latest happenings and maybe even mix in a few of our families' all time favorite recipes too.

So bookmark us, link us, friend us, follow us and tell your friends about us! We need your help to spread the word about the Ronald McDonald House.

See you soon!