Fran Green recently celebrated her 6th year anniversary as a volunteer who helps families make banners. We interviewed her for a vlog post to celebrate her August anniversary. The story caught the attention of NBC4’s Audrey Hasson, who spotlighted her in a recent report. Click the image above to watch this feature report focusing on Fran’s dedication to help families.
Fran Green has been a family activities volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House for six years. She helps families string together pieces of construction paper and foam that are cut-out shapes and characters with letters to form a banner for their room, the patient’s hospital room, or for a sibling back home. She tells us about her experience and the gratification she gets helping families be creative during a difficult medical situation with their children. At the end of the video, she gets a big surprise! You can see the creations from many families on her Facebook page, facebook.com/funwithfran. Watch the video below.
I began volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House in 2015 as a “go-getter.” We go-getters complete all kinds of tasks to help keep the House in good order: clean and restock guest rooms, wash/dry/deliver to housekeeping rooms laundry (sheets, towels, comforters, etc.), empty trash, and clean “common” rooms such as the library, exercise room, and the princess and Lego rooms.
Because of the diversity of duties, I rarely ever have two volunteer shifts that are the same. And I really enjoy meeting and interacting with the staff of the House, especially the volunteer coordinators and the family services managers. Everyone is always so very appreciative of the time that we volunteers give to help out around the House.
Volunteers are always encouraged to take one or more breaks during their four-hour shift. Several years ago, I sat down with some kids in the dining room to color and explain to them what I do as a volunteer. Not only was it a nice change from my regular volunteer duties, I was able to meet and connect with several families who were dealing with the stress of having a child in the hospital. Providing a small diversion by sitting down and coloring with their kids enabled me in a small way to help carry out the mission of the Ronald McDonald House.
Bryana Wallace is an Ohio University student who, along with a other student leaders, will be working to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities during the annual Bobcathon dance marathon on the university’s campus. This group of students also raise funds every month during the school year, leading right up to the big dance. Click here to learn more about Bobcathon.
We asked Bryana to tell us a little bit about how she came to be in a leadership position with Bobcathon, and this was her response:
“In August of 2019, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I received treatment at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and after certain treatments, my family and I would head over to the Ronald McDonald House knowing that I would have a reaction to a certain medicine they gave me, which in turn sent me back over to Children’s. Although I did not stay but one time, I received nothing but the best care and everyone at the house was so nice. Not to long after I was told I was Cancer free in November, Bobcathon members had asked if I wanted to come and share my story. After speaking at the dance marathon, I knew it was something I wanted to join in college. Although I just graduated high school, I will be going into college as a sophomore and part of the Planning team as the director of fundraising for Bobcathon. I am excited to raise money for the children and for the House because they helped me in more ways than one when I was going through treatments.” – Bryana Wallace
NBC4’s Matt Barnes featured Bryana in a story during the Memorial Tournament last week. Click the image below to see the story about how Bryana became one of ten Patient Champions at this major international golf event in Central Ohio.
Congratulations to Lulani Gaulberto, our new Executive Assistant here at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. Lulani is from Pickerington and was a volunteer at the House before becoming a Volunteer Coordinator and has helped the development team on several occasions organizing auction items. Happy Administrative Professionals Day, Lulani! We did a quick Q&A with Lulani today and she was gracious to answer our questions so the community can get to know her. [Photo credit: Lulani Gaulberto/Facebook]
Q: How did you first come into the RMHC of Central OH community?
A: I started volunteering in 2017 when I was in a work transition. I chose Mondays so that I could start my week on a good note!
Q: What has been your position lately and what kinds of projects have you been working on?
A: In the past year, I’ve been a Volunteer Coordinator helping prepare & serve meals, receive donations; helped in Development by putting together Auction packages and assist with the Bake Sale; I’ve had some shifts staffing the Ronald McDonald Family Rooms at the OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital and the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Big Lot’s Behavioral Health Pavilion; and I’ve worked two shifts as a Family Service Manager.
Q: Has there been a moment, since you’ve been with the House, that particularly touched you? Perhaps a moment involving one of our families or being at an event where you really felt you were part of something special?
A: I’ve had numerous moments but the most recent was when I was checking in a family from Kentucky. They had just arrived and she was very concerned about her granddaughter. She had not gotten any rest or sleep or a meal. I got her checked in and was giving her the details about the room, meals, their stay and then I told her that if she needed anything else, all she had to do was ask. I told her I would pack up dinner for her daughter and herself and gave her one of our Thirty-One Gifts welcome bags and she burst into tears. I nearly burst out crying myself but pulled it back in. I saw them a few days later when I came in to volunteer and she and her daughter looked rested and found out that the patient was doing well. How much better can it get?
Q: What are you looking forward to in your new position?
I look forward to contributing to all the House activities – raising money, fostering/planning/organizing/recognizing the amazing job that the McDonald’s restaurants are doing in their Round-Up campaign, supporting Dee Anders (our CEO) so she can do her thing, and being part of this growing chapter!
Kimberly is one of the many hardworking ‘Go-Getter’ volunteers here at Ronald McDonald House Charities. She has been volunteering at the house for a little over a year by, “doing just about whatever needs to be done,” she said. Kimberly and the other ‘Go-Getter’ volunteers help put sheets on beds, restock towels in the linen closet, do laundry, unpack boxes, clean out closets, take out trash, and anything else to help prepare rooms for families to stay in.
She first got started in volunteering at The Ronald McDonald House through a connection with her grandson, William who is currently being treated for cancer at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, Canada. She explained that each time William has had to get treatment in Vancouver, they stay at the Ronald McDonald House and it has impacted their family greatly. However, in this past year, visiting her grandson was no longer an option due to the global pandemic. Wanting to stay connected to him, she decided to volunteer at RMHC in Columbus, Ohio. “It was very important to do something for me to feel connected to him while he was going through his treatment, so I came here for that connection.”
Kimberly shared that through her daughter, the mom of William, she has seen the weight of what it’s like to have a sick child. Her daughter’s focus has had to completely become the health and well-being of her child’s life. However, with RMHC help, some of this weight has been lifted off her shoulders and has allowed her to just be there for her child when he needs her the most. Kimberly explained that this why she continues to volunteer each week––that she is helping make families lives easier. “Everything I do here, however small, makes a family’s life easier and this is a time in their lives that they really need easy.” Kimberly hopes to continue to volunteer RMHC and help families in any way she can.
Donna Miller started a volunteer meal group from Community of Christ Church in Grove City after she was invited to come see the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus by a friend who was already volunteering at the House. That was over a decade ago and the group has continued to come, even during the pandemic, just in smaller groups instead of as a large group.This is Donna’s experience as a meal group organizer in her own words.
The RMHC garden is growing again. When two dilapidated houses behind our main building were acquired and raised by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio in late 2019, that gave rise to the opportunity to turn the 10,000 square feet area into a resource for the many more families we began serving after adding 57 more rooms in 2014. And so the planning began to grow a garden in the void left by the houses that were torn down. Our volunteer director, Kate Becker, was able to help convince Scott’s Miracle Gro to provide a grant through The Columbus Foundation as seed money for the project. Next, she was able to convince longtime volunteer craftsman, Bill Mount to be our chief gardener (for which he immediately won an award from Franklin Park Conservatory & Garden). Bill was able to convince some local businesses to donate nutrient dirt, some plants, & seeds. He has a big tractor and was all set to bring it to the planned garden area to rototill the ground. Only one problem: This was city soil. It was full of bricks, rocks, & archeological finds such as bottle caps and pieces of drywall. The bigger items needed to be removed.
Kate was working on recruiting more volunteers and volunteer groups to come work in our garden with the ultimate goal that the produce grown in our garden would be used by our Chef Blair Arms to make meals for our families. Then, the pandemic hit. Suddenly, volunteers couldn’t be at the House. But we persevered. Staff was filling in doing all kinds of things that wouldn’t normally be part of their duties. That included helping move the big rocks and other large items from the garden space, while everyone was at least six feet apart and wearing masks. The precautions also allowed Bill to come back with his big tractor & rototiller to break into the ground and ready it for planting.
After allowing small groups to come back to work in the garden, we even had a team of Nationwide Children’s Hospital physicians help plant the first rows of vegetables. Local real estate agents & brokers came in small groups to volunteer safely in the garden area too.
So despite the pandemic, we were able to harvest more than 1,000 pounds of produce to help feed the families staying at our House in 2020.
Now, a year after it started, Bill & Kate (pictured together at just arm’s distance this week) are back in the garden and beginning to plant this year’s crop, with the help of staffers Blair Arms & Mekia Hilles (pictured sitting on the ground this week) and some volunteer craftsmen. More volunteers are expected to be invited back as we ramp up preparations for growing season and families are expected to begin helping in the garden even more this year!
As a volunteer for 15 years, Lisa Frabott has seen the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus more than double the number of rooms the House has provided when the chapter left its second building location for its newer third building location. When RMHC of Central Ohio moved from one location to the other, her role helping families changed with the size of the kitchens. She says the gratification she’s gotten from helping more and more families has grown with the House, as you’ll hear in the video below.
On March 3, Lisa Frabott (center) will be guest hosting our Virtual Trivia night celebrating the 39th Anniversary of Central Ohio’s chapter of Ronald McDonald House Charities. To learn more or make a reservation, click here.
We can now call our own volunteer Master Gardener Bill Mount an award-winning gardener. Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Garden’s Growing to Green program promotes community gardening and city beautification. On October 15th, the Conservatory hosted its annual Growing to Green Awards virtually with a Zoom meeting online and Bill was invited to attend.
“We’re proud to host this event every year to honor the amazing work of urban farmers and community gardeners across central Ohio,” the Conservatory’s webpage proclaims. “The Growing to Green Awards honors the dedication and hard work of many central Ohio communities and individuals while furthering Growing to Green’s objective of promoting participation in city beautification and community gardening.”
Bill was announced as the winner of The Community Gardener of the Year award. Each year, FPC says the award is presented to an individual who is exceptionally dedicated to their neighborhood garden and or the movement of community gardening in central Ohio.
An award of $250 will be given to Bill to be applied toward the Ronald McDonald House Garden. Thank you, Bill, for all of your hard work and congratulation on this prestigious award!