By Maria Spain
My name is Maria Spain. I have been working as a Family Service Manager at Ronald McDonald House Charities for just over three years. My journey with the Ronald McDonald House started when I was a sophomore in college. I was struggling to pick a major, unsure of what career path I wanted to pursue, and seeking inspiration. One day I was speaking with a close friend who works at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and she recommended I get involved with RMHC of Central Ohio, because she had only heard great things about it. I was interested in getting involved with a non-profit, so I decided to walk in one day and see if there were any opportunities for me.
I met with Vicki, now my supervisor, and she showed me around the House. As I walked past all 122 guest rooms, I couldn’t believe how big the building was. The hallways were clean and the guest rooms were cozy. What impressed me the most, though, was all of the intricate details inlaid in every corner of the House. The music room was full of more instruments than I could think of. The library had teddy bears larger than me, and in the kitchen there were seats that looked like hamburgers. The art on the first floor walls made you feel as if you were walking through all 4 seasons in the span of 30 steps. The interior of one elevator looked like the inside of a spaceship, and it led us all the way up to a room that looked like outer space. It was truly so fun. What was more impressive than the uniqueness of the space, though, was that all of it is funded and created directly by our community. If you get to experience RMHC, you get to experience firsthand the impact that compassion and giving can do.
I started as a summer intern, and I was grateful for the opportunity to learn. I worked with some amazing people and learned so much about how a place like this runs. The good that RMHC does is a direct result of the hard work and kind hearts of all of the volunteers and staff members that show up every day to serve families. It was truly amazing, and every day that summer I was thankful to be even a small part of something so good.
In the past three years, I went from a summer intern to a full time staff member. As my knowledge has grown deeper, so has my appreciation for this RMHC chapter. I have met families from all over the world, and seeing their resilience through times of struggle encourages me daily. One of my main responsibilities at work is greeting families when they first arrive and checking them into their rooms. I am passionate about making families feel comfortable and supported during their time here. The magic of RMHC has remained just as strong as when I first walked through the hallways of the House years ago. I would encourage anybody in the community to come volunteer and experience some of the joy that RMHC brings to families.