By Sean Brewster
As part of the Columbus Foundation Summer Fellowship Program, I spent the past 10 weeks working at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio (RMHC). Just within these past weeks, I have learned a tremendous amount about myself as a professional and as a student. There is just something about Columbus’ home-away-from-home that is special.
At the beginning of this internship, I was honestly a little lost in the 100,000 square foot facility that is RMHC. I was overwhelmed by the 350 volunteers that show up every week and the more than 3,000 families this House serves every year. I was in awe of the sixteen professional staff members that go above and beyond every day to make this house operate. I was shocked by the strength of the families and children that stay in this House. There was a lot of learning to do during my first week at RMHC, but each of these emotions helped me to challenge myself and strive for success during this experience.
The main project that I was given for these 10 weeks was to create a Volunteer Stewardship Plan. In essence, I was identifying each and every point in a volunteers ‘lifespan’ that RMHC would send a note of thanks or appreciation. Before my time at RMHC, I had very little experience or knowledge about Volunteer Management. To take it further, I had even less knowledge about the concept of stewardship in a non-profit. I can proudly say that I have gained a tremendous amount of practice in volunteer management and quite an expertise in the area of volunteer stewardship.
From managing groups of volunteers from L Brands, Nationwide Insurance and Bath & Body Works to volunteering at the Thirty-One Gifts Conference, I have developed quite an understanding of volunteer management. By working to develop a fully-fledged Volunteer Stewardship Plan, and thus creating materials and processes to support this plan, I have gained an expertise of stewardship practices. In addition to these skills, I have also had a great time working the 28th Annual Joe Mortellaro Golf Classic, getting to know all of the administrative staff, attending a Clippers game during Intern Appreciation Day and eating some delicious cupcakes from Gigi’s.
From all of my experiences working in non-profit organizations, I have never experienced such a warm and welcoming community. Every single staff member, volunteer and donor is enveloped by a passion for this House and the families that it serves. This was the perfect place to spend the summer before my senior year at Otterbein University, because I feel inspired and impassioned by the time I have spent at RMHC. I am certain that the skills and knowledge that I have gained from this experience will propel me through my last year and (hopefully) straight into a job upon graduation.