Q: Who are you guys?
A: We are a group of people that have worked together in the past and remained friends after we moved on to other jobs. We all decided to form a Maker Space Group and chose the name, Solid State Social Club. Our goal is to teach kids, teens and adults about technology and wood working. Wood working for geeks is CNC, we program the computer and the machine cuts out the parts for us.
The people involved with this project and current employer are:
Dennis Megarry – StateAuto Insurance
Tyler Wickiser – StateAuto Insurance
Josh Hamilton – StateAuto Insurance
Johan Van Zijl – Chase
Robert “Downtown Bob” – CoverMyMeds
Q: How did your group start a relationship with our Ronald McDonald House?
A: Robert was on a tour of the House after cooking a lunch meal for CoverMyMeds when he spotted the Game Room there with non-working arcade machines. Since I was already into building arcade gaming machines & Johan into repairing them, we decided this was a great start to our maker group. So we contacted Joel (the House facilities supervisor) and came down to diagnose the issues with the units there already. We were able to repair the pinball machine, and while we can repair the rest, we fund this out-of-pocket so plan to continue as soon as funds become available.
Q: What made you guys decide to do this? Have you done this kind of thing before?
A: I was already making custom arcade machines and Johan was repairing cabinets, so it was a great fit for us. Given how much RMHC benefits the community and children, we all jumped at the chance to help out.
Q: How was it all paid for? Do you have an approximate value of the machine?
A: This was all my personal donation. I bulk buy parts and usually have enough to build a few machines on hand so the expense of this was drawn out over the course of a year prior to this build. We all have families to support as well, so for the moment while we grow, we can only do things like this as we save up the funds. I build custom arcade cabinets for corporate clients who have an employee game room setup, as well as individual people. No two cabinets are alike so putting a cost on one is difficult to do. Depending on options, we’ve made them from $2700 to more than $4000. If we built yours for a customer, it would have been about $3000.
Q: What was involved in making it? Where was it assembled?
A: Making things like this is how I relax after a day in front of the computer at work. It is a lot of fun. Since our group is just starting out, we do not have space to setup shop so it was made and built in my garage (my garage is rather large).
This build though was extra special for us. Lynne Holmes, the graphic designer at the Ronald McDonald House, created the graphics for us. To finish the cabinet, our respective employers gave us each a paid day off through charity volunteering-for-a-day programs. So we need to give a big thank you to StateAuto, Chase, and CoverMyMeds! It wasn’t just us that were involved in this project.
Q: Does it have more than one game?
A: When we build one of these, the insides can go from inexpensive to OMG! Just depends of what people want. For corporate builds, as well as this one, we chose a commercial board which is pre-loaded with games that we bought off of Amazon. It has a lot of the ones adults grew up with such as: Galaga, PacMan, Street Fighter, TMNT, Asteroids, Super Mario, Tetris and many others.. There are more than 2,100 games on this board.
Q: Joel says you’re also repairing our other arcade games?
A: Yes, as funds allow we will be repairing all the machines there. The Ms. PacMan, for instance, has a blown transformer. But rather than just replacing it, the cabinet is in bad shape as well so we will most likely make a new cabinet for it, reprint the original graphics and when finished, it will be as good as new, or better.
Q: Do you have a message for the families that will be using this machine and the others you repair?
A: We built the arcade hoping that it brings a little joy to people when going thru a difficult time in their lives.
When folks think of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, most think of the big House located across from Nationwide Children’s Hospital. But our chapter also operates the Ronald McDonald Family Room at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital. The room is in the same area of the hospital as the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the Postpartum Unit. This family room opened in July of 2017 and RMHC of Central Ohio recently announced plans to open another family room in the Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, when that building opens next year.
If you’re interested in becoming a Ronald McDonald Family Room volunteer after watching the video, email Vicki.Chappelear@rmhc-centralohio.org.
With the start of the new year, you may have noticed that our website has a slightly new look. Over the holidays, we had the opportunity to install a new format provided to us by the Ronald McDonald House Charities global organization. We hope you like the refreshed look.
In addition to that change, our House has had a few other changes to the building. One impressive and very noticeable change in the House is our family dining area. The dark wood tables and chairs have been painted a cool gray and the blue walls have been painted with a lighter shade. The windowed area also has been wallpapered with a cool white birch tree pattern, bringing a lighter feel to the large room. The entire space was redecorated with funding and volunteering by The Blue Jackets Foundation with the Lady Jackets, (the wives & girlfriends of the Columbus Blue Jackets players & coaches).
Finally, the other low-profile, but nonetheless important, project is the renovation of our stairwells. Gone is the carpeting from the landing. Carpets are a trap for dust and allergens, so these well-traveled spaces will be healthier areas for our families as well as everyone else taking a healthy climb up and down the stairs instead of using the elevators. The stairs themselves are getting a new epoxy coating, with the color being changed from a military green to a lighter gray. Thanks to our volunteer craftsmen for providing the elbow grease for this project. Supplies were provided by Quaker Chemical Corporation with PPG Industries at a deep discount for this project.
By Blair Arms
Food. If we are fortunate enough, we are able to eat three meals a day; maybe more dependent upon our lifestyle. Some love being in the kitchen, others wouldn’t know what to do with a knife. I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by grandparents and parents that cooked. I remember being in my Grandma Lou’s (Grams) kitchen when I was little on Thanksgiving, and seeing her freak out because we forgot the mashed potatoes and gravy! Luckily my Grams, a stay-at-home mom of 5 children, whipped out the potatoes from her pantry and put me to work. “We will use the microwave if we have to!” she said. That memory is one of my first memories of being in a kitchen and learning how to make homemade mashed potatoes and gravy (from the turkey drippings, of course). That memory is also one of the reasons I decided to pursue a career in culinary arts and why I link cooking/baking to family.
So, imagine being told that your child has to go a hospital, far away, for an unknown amount of time, and you don’t know anyone in that city. Not only do you have to go to that hospital, but you have to be at the hospital all day to ensure the best care for your child. When do you have time to shop for food? Even if you find the time, would you really want to cook? Our job at RMHC is to take that stress away and create a home environment so you don’t have to think about how you are going to feed yourself and your child (among other things).
Team Cuisine started in July 2017. One Chef volunteered their time, prepared the menu, shopped for groceries and helped prepare the meal. When the program picked up, RMHC knew they had to make Team Cuisine a full-time position. That’s where I come in!
My position as Head Chef is to ensure that the group has all of the necessary equipment and ingredients to make a meal for the families during their stay and that they can prepare it safely with the best sanitation practices. Upon arrival, I survey the group to see how many there are, break them off into teams, and they work at one of the stations that I have set up. After the meal has been prepared, the group serves the meal to our families, as well as takes care of the dishes and cleaning of the kitchen. The whole process is very hands on and interactive.
When coming up with menus, I consider what is being prepared during the week, and what I can buy within the budget. By doing meals through Team Cuisine, we can ensure that the families are being fed a well-balanced and delicious meal, and that the groups know how to prepare a nutritious meal for 100-150 people.
One thing I try to emphasize when I am working with a meal group is that RMH is first and foremost a house. I want the group to envision them being in their own home and making a meal for their family, putting the love and effort into the meal for RMH just as they would if they were at home. I believe that is what makes the group’s experience more authentic and an avenue for some great memories.
Our motto is Keeping Families Close. What better way to keep families than through food?
What is better than golf? This is #mywhy. Golfing for a cause. I love fundraising for the RMHC of Central Ohio through the Joe Mortellaro Junior Golf! As I begin fundraising for my third junior golf outing, I think about how lucky I am that I have been able to raise thousands of dollars for those families that need to use the house. I have been the top fundraiser the past two years, and have enjoyed not only the junior outing, but the Joe Mortellaro Golf Classic where I have met two of my favorite coaches: Urban Meyer and Thad Matta. My parents even let me bid on some items at the silent auction! Getting to golf through this outing allows me to help the house while I get to enjoy my favorite sport.
In the past three years, I have putted for change outside a local store, sent letters to area businesses, family and friends, and of course, put in my own money. Why have I done this? My answer is because it matters. There are families that need to use RMHC to remain close to their children, and they should not have to worry about where they are going to stay. It doesn’t matter that I am only 9-years-old. My efforts are as needed as my parents or even strangers. We can all give our time, services or money to help RMHC of Central Ohio. Throughout the year, I also collect pop tabs, have purchased items off the wishlist, and gave money for an organization to make a meal. There are lots of ways people can make a difference at RMHC.
Although I hope I raise the most money in fundraising again this year, I know whatever amount I am able to raise will make a big difference to RMHC of Central Ohio. Please consider donating your time or money today!
~ Written By Junior Golfer Griffin Beach
Meika (a staff member) asked me why I like volunteering for Ronald McDonald House. She wanted me to write something down and share with everyone. Well, I’ve been putting it off because I didn’t know the exact words to say but today was my turning point. I saw a young woman today who was crying over losing her child. Everyone in the office was hugging her, talking to her, trying to console her the best way they knew how. That’s what this House is all about. It exudes love and compassion for these families and their children. I saw this on day one when my friend Jean (God rest her soul) brought me to the House to see if I would like it here. She had me hooked at day one! The brave little people here are so special to me. One day, for example, a little girl came up to me and said, “I had a heart transplant,” and showed me her scar. She said, “I had to come today for tests and had to lay still for lots of hours.” My heart melted for her. I told her how brave I thought she was and she smiled that big smile. She is just one of the precious moments that I have shared here. The good Lord knows why He sent me here. I cherish every day. I love you all. The tears have been rolling steady since I started this letter. So, I think you will all get my message.
Love to all, Chris Hicks