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.
This is one of the most exciting times of the year for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. It’s the time when our chapter has the honor of hosting other RMHC chapters for the RMHC Midwest Summit. It’s a great opportunity for staff members from these various chapters to share knowledge and ideas to improve all of our organizations. This year’s summit welcomes more than 50 chapters from around the country and even a few from Canada.
The three-day educational/training opportunity also allows attendees to participate in a variety of educational sessions. The gathering kicked off today with a general session featuring an inspirational talk from Dave Kaufman, CEO of Motorists Insurance Group who has also been a volunteer and past board member at the Columbus Ronald McDonald House.
This year’s venue takes place at Top Golf with the unique opportunity to have specialty sessions in the open-air.
It’s been an exciting month for book-lovers who stay at the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus, and we’re not talking about lovers of e-books. Our library has remained pretty much the same for years. But just a few weeks ago, a team of volunteers came in to revamp our library. Over just a few days this during National Library Week AND National Volunteer Week, a team from L Brands including Susan Geier, Carrie Kenneth, Chris Nowicki, Ed Kunzelman; and KP Designs & Associates painted walls and added new built-in cabinets and book cases. You can even literally curl up with a good book within an in-shelf nook!
The week after we reopened the library, 22-year-old Kendal White, a recent graduate from Ohio Dominican University, arrived at the House with a group of friends and supporters to donate books gathered during a recent book drive. White says he’s passionate about literacy and asked his community of friends, family, ODU alumni, & Central State University Columbus alumni to donate children’s books for our library. He hoped to get 200 books, but more than 1,100 were collected, including some books for adults. Thanks to his group of volunteers for sharing the books – along with coloring activities & games – to support our families. It was a great way to also wrap up National Volunteer Month.
Our innovative craftsmen welcomed Jeff into their ranks about a couple of months ago. His involvement with RMH began when Jeff and his wife, Lorna, were cleaning out their shelves and brought books to donate to the House. From there, he got involved with the craftsmen. Jeff loves working with his hands and filling in wherever needed, including the front desk every other Tuesday.
“You listen to the news every day and you only ever hear of the horrible things,” he said. When he’s in the House, it’s different. “I’m amazed at the number of people that donate here and help around here. I’m just trying to give back. I’ve had a pretty good life.”
When you see Jeff around, ask him to show you what a calliope is and sounds like. You won’t be disappointed!
Over the last two months, I’ve had the opportunity to intern at RMH and interact with families, staff, and volunteers, learning a lot about who and what makes up the House with a Heart.
When I first walked in and met with Ryan, my expectations were situated within the objectives of the class that I am taking alongside of this internship. The intended scope – storytelling – fails to encompass what projects I have worked on and what writing I have done during my time here.
My expectations shifted from purely telling the stories of those within our House walls to taking on tasks that are relevant for any writer looking at entering the nonprofit sector. I saw firsthand how necessary it is to be adaptable and oriented to the needs of an organization over the desires of oneself.
My creative writing and storytelling fix was filled through a few blog posts, short interviews with a volunteer and a board member, and shaping short content for our Staff Stuff newsletter. These projects would have been sufficient in exposing me to the voice of Ronald McDonald House Charities, yet my internship went further.
Having a background in business writing and marketing, I found that my technical writing and editing skills were valued in a strategic capacity. Tasks ranged from crafting a press release to teaming up with Jessie, the marketing intern, and creating a small marketing plan. I also edited our website’s copy and made suggestions for revision. These projects, among others, gave me the opportunity to apply the skills I had previously accumulated in the classroom in a “real” setting.
As a student, I think there’s often a fear of being unprepared when leaving campus, graduating, and moving into an organization doing great and wonderful acts of love in the community. Long gone is that fear, as I feel the guidance I received, responsibilities I was tasked with, collaboration I participated in, and the love I saw proves how valuable this opportunity was and is. While my impact at RMH may have been minimal, the impact of this internship for me was massive.
Through writing, this internship presented me with the chance use my voice to amplify Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio’s voice. It has offered me a moment of time I can look back at and know that I was lifted up, for the benefit of both RMH and myself, a student, a part of the Columbus community, and a person who will go on to write and write and write.
For that, I am beyond thankful.
Thank you to everyone in the House who made me feel at home from the start, and especially to Ryan and Rick.
The Love family has been coming to Columbus from Durham, North Carolina for more than four years now. They know what it’s like having to be away from loved ones and family back home to make the road trip to Columbus very well. Christin Love was just turning five years old when her parents thought she had the flu, her mother Michelle tells us. Trips to a local children’s hospital revealed that Christin actually had some kidney issues and a problem with her spinal cord. The local doctors referred her to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. The family first flew to Columbus, but has made many road trips here since then and have stayed at the Ronald McDonald House across the street from NCH several times.
This past week, we met up with Joyce Orban, Christin’s Grandmother, in our kitchen to get her thoughts about staying at the House so frequently. We’ve also been asking families staying at the House to watch our new short film, “Something’s Missing” in the movie room at our House, to get their impression of this new 5-minute video. The film was made by a local film production company in an effort to try and capture the exhaustive feeling family members have when it’s necessary to make a long trip to Columbus to be with an ill child. Michelle & Christin accepted our offer to watch the film and give us their reaction. Both interviews are featured below.
We want to thank the Love family for giving so graciously of their time, and giving us their thoughts, more than a few times over the years they’ve been staying with us so that we may share their experiences with our community.
Ohio Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 3 Emmanuel “Manny” Kidd passed away in January of 2015 of brain cancer. Just months earlier, he had served a meal to families at the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus with members of the Warrant Officer Candidate School where he was a course manager. The group had leftover funds they had raised to pay for the meal, and decided to use those funds to do a one-year sponsorship of a guest room in memory of Chief Kidd. Every class of candidates since then have re-sponsored that same room in Kidd’s honor. What’s more, the classes over the years had been raising enough money to sponsor the room permanently. On February 28, 2019, a ceremony took place dedicating the room, with Kidd’s name permanently displayed on the door.
We showed our short film, Something’s Missing, to Patricia Hicks, a mom who regularly travels from Kentucky to stay at the Ronald McDonald House when her 2 children have appointments or procedures. After we showed her the film in our movie room, here was her impression:
Watch how this guest felt after seeing the #somethingsmissingfilm. Watch it for yourself https://youtu.be/Cm9NOptHCTk
Posted by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio on Monday, March 18, 2019
If you haven’t seen this award-winning 5-minute film yourself, please watch it here on Facebook or here on Youtube and please share widely to help us get the message out about how our charity helps keep families near their hospitalized children. Thank you!
Earlier this month, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio and Post House Creative’s short film, Something’s Missing, received a gold ADDY award for Public Service (Film, Video, & Sound). The short film, which is written, directed, edited, and produced by Post House Creative, tells the story of a family with a seriously ill child in a way that Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio has never done before.
The decision to feature less dialogue was deliberate, in efforts to emphasize the visuals captured on screen. The use of motivated camera movement, negative space, and certain shots, chosen specifically to keep the audience wanting more were effective in creating a worthy advertisement that moved the hearts of the viewers.
In a March first ceremony, the 2019 Columbus ADDYs were awarded by the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Columbus and are the first tier of a three-tier, national competition held by the national AAF organization. After winning at the local level here in Columbus, Something’s Missing will go on to compete against other ADDY award winners at the district level. If Something’s Missing wins at the second-tier, it will then vie for a national ADDY.
This year’s Columbus ADDYs were judged by Doug Buchanan, editor in chief of Columbus Business First; Christin Norris, who is Lead Experience Designer at Digitas Chicago; Camron Gnass, a professor in the Advertising Department at Michigan State University and was named one of ten most influential people in Mid-Michigan under the age of 35; and Jan Mullins, an award-winning writer, producer and freelance director based in Atlanta, GA.
Congratulations to the team at Post House Creative on winning this esteemed award.
By Bryant Somerville, WBNS 10TV
There are times we feel complete. Other times, most of us know the feeling of a missing piece.
For Heather Vincent, that piece is normalcy.
“We don’t have normal,” she said. “We don’t know what normal is.”
When her son Jackson was 2-1/2, he was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. He went through all of his treatments and eventually was cancer-free for about two-and-a-half years until it came back.
“And then we found out in January he relapsed,” she said.
Jackson is now 6. Lately, the Ronald McDonald House has been a second home.
“We were here 51 days,” Vincent said. “We got to go home last week and now we’re back.”
Back to the hospital. Back to the treatments. Back to the lack of normalcy.
But there is a piece of normalcy, as small as it might seem, that Jackson carries with him.
Jackson loves Lego. In the past year, Vincent says he’s built upwards of 40 sets at his house. At the hospital, while doing treatments, he builds.
“Yesterday, we sat and built Legos all through chemo, so we were there for three hours and I don’t think he thought about chemo once,” she said. “He just focused on the Legos and didn’t realize he sat in the bed for three hours. He just was building Legos.”
The LEGOLAND Discovery Center, knowing many children can’t make it to Easton, decided to take the fun to the Ronald McDonald House Thursday.
“Yeah, they bumped up his chemo this morning so he could come back and make it here so he could do Legos,” Vincent said.
It’s a much-deserved distraction.
Maxx Davidson is the master model builder for LEGOLAND Discovery Center Columbus.
“You get to bring some smiles to kids’ faces who might not get to have an opportunity for an event like this all the time,” he said.
An opportunity to be normal.
“It almost takes you back to normal for a little bit,” Vincent said. “Takes you out of the cancer world for a while.”