June 17, 2011

Student Life Camp Attendees Give Back

This week, 1,200 high school students converged on the campus of Wake Forest University for the 2011 Student Life Camp. Part of their week at camp involved going out into the local community to volunteer. We were so very lucky to have a group of campers come help us here at the Ronald McDonald House!

The wonderful Student Life campers from the Freedom Fellowship Church Youth Group in White Pine, Tennessee put in a ton of work to help make our House a comfortable, clean place for families. They scrubbed the tile floor and washed the many windows that line the porch. They even gave the window screens a deep cleaning!

They also helped spruce up a few bedrooms that needed a little TLC.

All of their hard work really paid off. Our families are now enjoying a pollen and dust free porch and spotless guestrooms.

Thank you Freedom Fellowship Youth Group and Student Life Camp for sharing your gracious and hard working students with us. We are so appreciative!


June 15, 2011

School's Out for Summer

I am always impressed by the large number of children and teens in our area that stop by the House for tours, often bringing along donations of toys, snacks and change. Though they may have never experienced an illness or extended hospital stay themselves, they feel very connected to their peers staying at our House and want to help as much as possible.

They often think of things that we as adults sometime miss. They want to know, “do RMH kids bring their favorite toys with them?” (Yes, but if not we have toys here for them to play with.) They wonder, “are hamsters allowed to come stay at the House too?” (No, pets have to stay at home with friends and family.) “Do RMH kids get to eat Chicken McNuggets every day?” (McDonald's Night is on Monday's and yes, they can eat free McNuggets!) “Do the families like the cool, squishy mattresses at the House?” (They LOVE our Tempur-Pedic beds!) And of course they always want to know “does Ronald live here and do we get to meet him?” (Yes! This is his house after all and maybe, he is a pretty busy guy.)

While the adults I speak to about the House tend to be more focused on the heavier things--treatments, expenses and the unimaginable stresses that go along with caring for a very sick child-- kids zero in on the smaller but extremely important things that really make our House a home. They want to make sure RMH kids have the things that they know will comfort them as they heal-- stuffed animals, coloring books, morning cartoons, chicken and stars soup.

This is a busy time of year for us and we have lots of kids staying at the House during the summer months. Since school is out, many RMH families bring brothers and sisters along while their sibling is receiving medical treatment. If they are able, some RMH families will schedule surgeries and treatment for the summertime so that they have time to recover without missing school. Because we have so many children here during this time of year, it is a really great time for your kids and family to get involved with helping RMH kids and families.

Here are a few fun ways your kids can get involved with helping us take care of their sick peers this summer:

Hold a bake sale for RMH in your front yard or at your July 4th neighborhood block party *

Have a lemonade stand for RMH *

Have a penny war with friends. See who can collect the most spare change for RMH over the next two months and then count it on the last day of summer to see who the winner is.

Make care packages for RMH kids -- they love what you love!

Decorate cupcakes or make brownies and bring them to the House for families.

Come take a tour! We love teaching kids about how the Ronald McDonald House helps other kids. Email me to set up your visit! Lauraw@rmhwinstonsalem.org

*If you are interested in using our logo for your bake sale or lemonade stand, please email me at LauraW@rmhwinstonsalem.org for usage guidelines. I'll be happy to help you get organized for your sale.


June 1, 2011

Rockin', Runnin' and Eatin'

Watson here.

Have you ever run a 10k? It's hard work. The training, the shin splints... no thanks.

You see, I am more of a napper. In fact, napping is a sport I truly excel at. Well that, and competitive eating, of course. I'm also excellent at that.

Speaking of competitive eating, have you ever had a scone? They are these fancy British dog biscuits thingies. Peanut made some in celebration of the Royal Wedding a few weeks ago. She said the Queen's corgis make them all of the time. They were pretty good. I could probably eat 50 of them right now. Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yes. Running.

So a few weeks ago mom told me that she was going to run a 10 k called "The Rockin' Ronald McDonald." Obviously, I was not interested. Who would want to run that far? Ears flying all over the place. Jowls flopping every which way. Paws pounding the pavement. You know what I'm talking about. I'm sure you've seen that embarrassing email going around. Yeah, you know the one...

Not my idea of a good time.

But then she told me that the 10 k involved a barbecue buffet and I started to change my tune. I might consider running 6.2 miles if I knew there was a pound of Lexington Style pulled pork waiting for me at the finish line.

But mom knows my real weakness... that woman, I swear. She told me that ALL of the money raised from the race would benefit The Ronald McDonald House... So of course, I was in. All in. These paws were made for running folks! I stepped up the pace on my walks, did a few sit ups, played with kids on the RMH play equipment. I was ready, ready to rock, run... eat.

The crew from Lexington Memorial Hospital gives me a thumbs up before the race

I hate to admit it folks but I'm no greyhound. 6.2 miles is a really long way for a Basset Hound to run. So when the day finally came and I ended up cheering on mom and 220 other awesome 10k and 5k runners from the sidelines.

Yay Mom!

Afterwards, all of the runners had a blast hanging out at The First Street Draught House with me, The Honey James' Band, and the event organizers, super couple Matt and Elizabeth Jalazo. Here they are:

Thank you Matt and Elizabeth!!!

Even though I ended up not exactly running, I think the event was a major success! Thanks to Matt, Elizabeth and all of the wonderful folks who did end up running and walking in the race (unlike yours truly), almost $2,700 was raised to support the Ronald McDonald House.

Alright. I'm off to train for next year. Right after lunch.


*Basset Hounds Running on the Beach Photo via BestWeekEver