My name is Kenna Scaife and I recently started as a Development Associate here at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. I will be working on Paint The Town Center Red and the Dublin and Fall Handbag HULLABALOO!™ events.
When I was in High School, I was introduced to The Ronald McDonald House through a club called Club Hope. The club’s mission is to raise awareness for childhood cancer through various fundraising events and volunteering for Nationwide Children’s Hospital. I loved all the work the club was doing so I decided to run for president! I was president of Club Hope for two years and throughout my time, we would make blankets, wrap Christmas presents, and serve dinner at the house. Once I was able to come to the house myself and take a tour, I knew that I wanted to work here some day!
I went to college at Ohio University. Go Bobcats! I graduated in 2019 with a degree in Communication Studies and a minor in Public and Environmental Health. After graduation, I landed a job with The Muscular Dystrophy Association. I was the lead on their event Muscle Walk and had a hand in numerous other events. I loved every moment of my job with MDA and cherish all the relationships I built with the families. My journey has now led me to the wonderful Ronald McDonald House and I am so excited to get started with planning events! I have always hoped that I would end up working here and I am so grateful the opportunity presented itself! Working in the house and seeing all the families motivates me even more to have the most successful events possible. Seeing first-hand the impact these fundraisers have on the families is incredible and I am so happy I get to be a part of that.
10-year-old Marcello Cervantes, a young gymnast from Tampa, suffered an injury playing football. He’s a tough kid, so he thought nothing of it. But his mom, Jeannette, noticed him sitting in a strange way and took him to a local hospital. After uncertainty as to what exactly was afflicting Marcello, Jeannette did some research online. Based on an intuition Jeannette had, she and her husband, Marco, decided a doctor at a children’s hospital in Columbus might be best able to help Marcello. Soon, they were making plans to travel to Nationwide Children’s Hospital. When making preparations to come here, someone in the doctor’s office recommended the family stay at our Ronald McDonald House. Marcello was so thankful for the opportunity his family had to stay at our House, that he decided to have fundraisers to raise money for RMHC before even leaving Florida. Click below to watch our interview with Marcello & Jeannette.
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!
Recently, Sue Orme, Clinical Educator at Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion asked that we provide an introduction of our Ronald McDonald Family Room by way of a blog post that will be published in the BHP’s internal staff e-newsletter. Our program manager, Vicki Chappelear, wrote the following wonderful synopsis for our partners at the BHP.
Who we are: The Ronald McDonald Family Room is a program of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. The Ronald McDonald House opened in March of 1982 with 15 bedrooms as a result of passionate volunteers who had a vision to start a House in Columbus. We have now grown to 137 bedrooms. The Family Room at the BHP is the second Family Room in Columbus with the first being at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist which opened in July 2017.
What we do: Our Family Room space serves as a respite for families away from the demands of inpatient and outpatient units. We offer a quiet place to make phone calls, grab a cup of coffee, eat a snack, do laundry or even take a shower! Families can also access a beautiful, serene outdoor courtyard where they can get a breath of fresh air and sunshine. We truly understand family centered care means keeping the whole family healthy and we are doing our part to meet those needs outside of patient care.
Where we are: The Ronald McDonald Family Room is located just off the elevators on the 5th floor. We are adjacent to the west courtyard.
Why we do it:
• I think the Family Room is important because it allows families to remain close while also providing a space for family members to take time for themselves. Whether it’s getting a cup of coffee, enjoying the courtyard, or doing a load of laundry – the Family Room is a spot for families to feel relaxed and refreshed. I think family members are best able to care for and encourage their kids receiving treatment if they’re also taking care of themselves and the Family Room provides that space for that to happen. Abigail Brumme, RMCH Family Activities Manager
• Families with children at the BHP need a place to rest and disengage from the stress created by having a child with mental health issues in treatment. Darla Stover, RMCH Program Director
• “This was truly my home away from home. I felt I had a safe place every day to go to. I will never forget. I am so grateful and appreciate it so, so much. Took so much off my mind, so I could focus on (my child).” – a guest of the BHP Family Room
We love our farming families and their communities. McKalynne Helmke was one of the 4-H members who sold her steer at last year’s amazing Ohio State – College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Dean’s Charity Steer Show. But her support didn’t stop after the steer show was over. She’s continued to get the support of local businesses in Tuscarawas County and major support from Sarchione Ford Of Waynesburg in her drive to get food for families that need to stay at the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus.
We often get messages of gratitude from parents of patients through our social media channels such as Facebook. Along with those messages, we sometimes get happy pictures of the patient too. We would like to share some of those messages and pictures so you, our supporters, can see the impact you have on families’ lives.
Earlier this month, Jill Peters sent the photo above and sent the unprompted comment, “thank you all so much for making our week long stay so much easier and more comfortable. we really appreciate the convenience of being across the street. the free snacks, meals, and laundry make a stressful situation so much easier! we truly appreciate everything!!”
Parents often write to us offering to fundraise for our Ronald McDonald Jenna Acord Riffle writes, “My sons 1st birthday is coming up and we spent the first 3 almost 4 months of his life living at the Ronald McDonald house. Do you have a list of things you need? We are going to ask for a donations instead of gifts.” Happy birthday to Cruz Robert Clyde Riffle.
Jennifer Kozlik, who describes herself in her Instagram bio as, “Mom to a micro preemie, case manager for county boards of developmental disabilities, super grateful wife/daughter/aunt/sister, and all-around blessed,” posted the beautiful picture below and this comment just before New Year’s Eve last year on Instagram:
“Thank you @rmhcofcentraloh !!! Our Macy has come so far…from #27weekpreemie to #goinghome ❤️ @rmhcofcentraloh made it possible for us to be right across the street from @nationwidekids ; which made it possible for us to take care of our #nicubaby instead of being in the car for 4 hours a day! The staff were always so wonderful, the volunteers so giving, and the whole building so warm and inviting. You take care of the families in the most generous and thoughtful way! We will forever be grateful to all of you, and will give back in any way we can!”
Debbie Morgan reached out to us to tell us about one of her favorite pictures of her daughter, who did not survive. Debbie says, “Thank you for all you do! Our family stayed at many different Ronald McDonald Houses for years while our daughter was alive. This organization has helped MANY FAMILIES and I am forever grateful for what you have done. One day we were coming our of Children’s Hopsital from an appointment and Ronald McDoanld was outside dancing in the rain. IT was the neatest thing and I still have a picture with . him and my daughter, Katelin. It is truly one of my favorite pictures. God bless you all and you are in my prayers!”
Adrianna Schoonover offered to donate some of her time to the Ronald McDonald House after having stayed at our House for over 2 months. “Is there a place to register for volunteering, in the future once covid-19 is over? My son was born in July, 10 weeks early. We spent 69 days at nationwide, and the Ronald McDonald house was a life saver during that difficult time. ❤️❤️”
Debbie Cunningham Weihl messaged us to say, “We stayed there for 91 days while my Granddaughter was in NICU at OSU. We have given back in several ways over the past 4 years but want to give more.”
Nicole Cochran needed to stay at the Ronald McDonald House when her daughter, Brooklyn, was taken to the NICU at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in 2017. Now, Nicole is staying with us again now that her three-week-0ld son, Sydney, is staying in the same NICU. She talked with us about how different it’s been staying at the house under “normal” times and staying at the House during the pandemic. Click the image above to watch her tell us her story.
Our mission: Create, find & support programs that improve the health and well-being of children & their families.
That includes mental health.
September in National Suicide Prevention Month and the rate of suicide among those aged 10 to 24 increased nearly 60% between 2007 and 2018, according to a report released earlier this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another report in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, Network Open, shows an increase in depression and suicide among children after COVID-19 consumed China. And a study of the affects on children of a particularly stressful election season has yet to be conducted.
It does seem to be no better time for a new hospital structure devoted to mental health care for children and adolescents. Nationwide Children’s Hospital happened to open it’s Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion here in Columbus, just as the pandemic was starting to get attention in the United States. The national health crisis caused a slow opening of the pavilion and the opening of the Ronald McDonald Family Room on the fifth floor of the building. But now the room is open, just as this volatile year begins to come to a close and the cold gray of winter approaches.
These are tough times to be sure. Businesses have shuttered or struggled to stay open and our non-profit charity has needed to find multiple, unique ways to continue to bring in revenue in so our programs can continue to help families. That includes the new Family Room. Staff members at the Ronald McDonald House are taking turns covering shifts at the new Family Room while our volunteer-staffed Family Room at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital has been closed due to the pandemic. Because of the unique purpose of the BHP’s Family Room, a specially-trained staff member must be present when the room is open to families 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
For the next ten days, you and your network of family, friends, & co-workers have the ability to help us keep the new Family Room fully functional for those who need it. By simply casting your vote for RMHC of Central Ohio in the State Farm Neighborhood Assist® grant competition online, you’ll be making a positive impact on families getting the care their children need in this state-of-the-art new facility. Click the link below to read the grant submission by our CEO, Dee Anders and then be sure to click the “vote” button at the end of the request. You can vote ten times per day now through October 2. Should RMHC of Central Ohio be one of the top 40 finalists, $25,000 will be awarded to help the new Family Room.
When families walk into the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, we want them to forget they’re in a hospital. The room is open to family members of patients in the Pavilion starting Tuesday, September 15. It will offer families a place to rest and regroup just steps away from the patient while the young person gets the help they need. Research shows that staying close by allows parents to better participate in their child’s care. Centrally located in the Pavilion, the Ronald McDonald Family Room offers families a place to rest and regroup while remaining close to their child by providing a welcoming, homelike environment.
This Family Room will be the first in a children’s hospital stand-alone mental health facility specifically for pediatric patients. The space is really more than a room with conference room, office, lockers, mother’s room with breast pump, laundry room with washer & dryer, full bathroom with shower and bathing supplies, kitchenette area, and an outdoor courtyard.
This is the second Ronald McDonald Family Room in Columbus operated by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. The first Family Room opened by the RMHC chapter was in 2016 inside the OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital for families of inpatient children and babies at that hospital.
Laikyn Howard was born to Jenna and Jeff Howard at 24 weeks and five days. She’s now ten weeks old. Laikyn is another modern miracle. After the couple spent the first 5 weeks at their local hospital’s NICU in Huntington, West Virginia, Laikin was transferred to the NICU at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Fortunately, when Jenna learned her baby would be going to the world-renowned hospital in Columbus, she already knew where she would be staying.
Jenna had learned about the Ronald McDonald House years ago from a friend who works in the development department at the local House in Huntington. In fact, Jenna says she and her husband have made donations to the local House and Jenna has often volunteered her time with a group at the House back home, even bringing Laikyn’s 9-year-old and 5-year-old sisters to help cook meals for families staying there. “When we had an idea we might be transferred to either Columbus or Cincinnati, I had reached out to her and asked her if they were open…if they were taking guests…if there was a waiting list,” Jenna said. “I told her I never thought I would ever need a Ronald McDonald House and she said to me, ‘If I could only tell you how many times people say that. You never know you’ll need it and you get more of an appreciation for it, especially when YOU need it.’”
When it comes to convenience for families with a child in the hospital, Jenna pointed out that it’s such a relief to be at a Ronald McDonald House so close to the local children’s hospital. “We just keep one car and my husband goes back and forth and it’s just easier for us right now, so I can walk wherever I need to go. And with them providing the meals, that’s another huge thing.” Jenna said.
There have been some major changes at hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses since the pandemic arrived. One major change at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and our Ronald McDonald is the inability for siblings to be able to visit, which can be hard on a family. Knowing their daughter would be in Columbus for a long time, the Howards made up a schedule so Jeff could continue to work back in Huntington but drive up to Columbus to stay at the House every other weekend. That would give Jenna time to go home and see Laikyn’s sisters. Of course, Jeff also comes up for major procedures at the hospital too. Fortunately for Jenna, she was already a tele-work employee, so she finds working from the room in our House very easy. Jenna said she especially appreciates the meals served at the House which allows her and Jeff to refrain from possible exposure to COVID-19 at a public grocery store or restaurant.
Jenna does look forward to the day when she’ll be able to bring Laikyn’s sisters to the House to show them where they’ve been staying. “We’ll be up here for appointments. Maybe they’ll have restrictions lifted. I do think one day down the road, hopefully, we’ll get to show them where we’ve stayed because right now, they can’t picture where we’ve stayed,” said Jenna. One thing’s for sure, she added, the family is certain to keep supporting Ronald McDonald House Charities now that it’s so much a part their family. “We have always been supporters and we’ll be supporters for life because you don’t realize how much it’s appreciated and needed until you’re faced with it. I had two perfect pregnancies and went into pre-term labor with her and it came out of the blue. You never know when your going to be faced with needing something.”