Home Away From Home Speech Garners Donations


Recently, Shala Graham, a student at Licking Valley High School, presented a speech centered on Columbus’ Ronald McDonald House as part of a competition at the school.  In an email, Shala’s teacher, Amanda Suttle, explained the competition called, the Nonprofit Persuasive Speech project: “I loved the project because it covered so many learning standards I teach (research, reading, informative and persuasive writing, outlining, speaking & listening) with a focus on helping others that also gave the students complete freedom in their choices of the topic (problem & charity).”

Suttle continued, “The process involved students researching a societal problem they cared about and a charity that addresses it. Using their researched sources, they wrote informative pieces about both the problem and the charity with the goal to “teach” me about both of them in their writing. They then outlined a persuasive speech using skills we had just begun to practice in class before school closed. Their goal was to convince their classmates to contribute to the charity by persuading them about both the seriousness of the problem and the effectiveness of the charity. They recorded videos of their speeches…everyone could view everyone else’s videos. I told them they had $500 in fake money to “donate” in $50 increments to the classmates whose speeches they found most convincing. Shala won for her class by a landslide.”

Then, Suttle turned the fake donations into real donations by asking her neighbors in Worthington for contributions to give to the charities supported in the winning speeches from her four “English 11” classes. She collected $460, so that brought in $115 dollars to RMHC of Central Ohio from Shala’s speech.

You can hear her speech by clicking the image above, or read the transcript of her speech below.

Thank you, Shala & Ms. Suttle, for sharing this with our community!


We have all had to stay at a hospital before. Some of us for a day but others longer. How
did you feel? Alone. Frustrated. Anxious. Well for more than 3 million kids around the world, this
is an everyday problem. Worldwide, families are forced to struggle financially and emotionally as
they stay beside their ill child’s side. Struggling to commute between the hospital and their job to
make ends meet. Things like hospital, hotel, gas, and parking bills can add up quickly. While I
hate to say it, this can happen to anyone. Anyone at any time can be faced with an illness that is
going to need far more advanced and specialized treatment than what Genesis or Licking
Memorial can give.
The Ronald McDonald House Charities do just that. They provided families with “a
home-away-from-home.” A place to sleep, eat, and relax at little or not cost so families do not
have to stress about the financial impact. The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Columbus,
Ohio work very close with Nationwide Children’s Hospital to provide the best care for thousands
of families.
You should donate to the Ronald McDonald House Charities because the only way these
charities stay open is through donations.
Did you know that there were over 375 Ronald McDonald House Charities in 67
countries and territories with the largest one being located in Columbus, Ohio? The Columbus,
Ohio Ronald McDonald House works very closely with Nationwide Children’s Hospital to
provide the best up-front care for Ohioans and other surrounding states.
The Ronald McDonald House Charities “serve more than 4,500 families…by providing
over 82,000 nights. ” You might ask, how do they make it though because it costs nearly 3
million dollars annually to operate [one] RMHC.” Several ways really. I know that the RMHC in
Columbus, Ohio only has about 20 employees which include secretaries and cooks. All of the
cleaning and disinfecting is done by local groups, organizations, or volunteers, saving them over
3 million dollars in paid labor. All of the pop tabs that people collect to donate to the RMCH,
covers their whole electric bill for the year.
So as I said at the beginning, there are two main problems that the Ronald McDonald
House Charities are there to relieve. One of them being the financial problem and the other being
the emotional problems that many families and children go through while they are being treated.
The nurses and employees at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald charity
house work very hard to make the atmosphere as comfortable as possible for the families.
Story of Rylee C, who was impacted by the RMHC. At only age seven, she was due for
a heart transplant and they turned to Nationwide’s Children Hospital. The only problem for her
family was “it isn’t quite the same as the 50-acre farm she’s used to in her home state of West
Virginia,” forcing her family to travel back and forth for work. Her grandpa described the dreaded
act of going home every week to work because “it makes you not want to leave because you
just know, just any day, any minute, any second, they’re going to come in and say ‘we have a
heart’.” While the family was traveling, they knew that the nurses and doctors were going to take
good care of her, Rylee was very curious about her treatment, asking all the questions she
could, “the nurses even threw her a big birthday party, and all of them came: even some of them
who weren’t working.” While the family had a hard time battling the heart transplant, they knew
that their daughter was in good hands.
While I have not stayed at the RMHC, I have gotten the privilege of helping them out in a
more statewide event. Over the summer of 2019, I got the opportunity to help out this charity
first hand, through the Dean’s Charity Steer Show. I was first approached at the 2019 Ohio Beef
Expo by Bill Tom, the Ohio State Fair Beef Coordinator and asked if I would participate. I said
yes, of course. I later found out that I was going to be paired up with ABC News Sports
Broadcaster, Clay Hall, to teach him how to show a steer. This was a great opportunity for me
because I got to meet someone I never thought I would get the opportunity to meet, teach him
about something I am very passionate about, and help out the Ronald McDonald House
Charities. Clay came over to my house 3 times to practice over the summer and the event took
place on Tuesday, July 3, 2019 at the Ohio State Fair’s Voinovich Center. More than one
thousand spectators watched in person and more than nine thousand streamed it on Facebook
live. 12 other exhibitors and I along with our celebrities first did a ‘show’ where 3 awards were
given: Best Showman, Best Steer, and People’s Choice. After the show, a ‘sale’ was then held
(no transaction on cattle took place). At the end of the day, more than $152,000 was raised for
the RMHC of Central Ohio.
As I stated before, The RMHC relies heavily on donations to keep their facilities up and
running smoothly. Anyone can be affected by an illness that needs more advanced medical
attention. I have gotten the opportunity to support this charity first hand and I have walked
through the facility and seen the impact that it has on the community. Do not think twice about
putting your change in a donation box for the Ronald McDonald House Charities.