March 31th, 2013
I go into this service learning project more as a mother than as a student. This is do mainly because of where I chose to serve. The Ronald McDonald house in Denver, Colorado provides a home like environment for the parents and families that need a space close to a hospital where their child is being treated. As a mother I believe this experience will increase my thankfulness in not only having children but that they are healthy.
What better way to spend a Easter Sunday than in service to others. Yes, I must admit that a small part of me wants to be home with my family but on this day serving others should be on every one's mind. As I walk into the Ronald McDonald House I am amazed at the 'homeyness' of it. The welcoming front room is decorated in warm colors and wood plus for the kids some life-like stuffed giraffes in the corner. A small sitting area is present for anyone waiting to be served. Two large desks are present to sit and fill out paperwork for the stay. One greeter is in the front room at all times 24 hours a day to help with any needs, or to sign in parents/families that need a room. Children's songs are softly playing in the background but otherwise it is very quiet. This surprises me I would think there would be child noises in the background (talking, laughing, giggling or of course babies crying) but silence is all I hear. I was expecting this to be a fairly busy place with lots of coming and going but I truthfully saw only the front desk lady and one family of four. I later learned that this usually very busy place is at an all time low, of it's 28 rooms only 14 are filled. Yet there is still much to do. When I signed up for this experience I was willing to do anything and they have me cleaning. This place is immaculate but there is a reason, it is cleaned top to bottom daily. One to two volunteers come every day to do the cleaning which includes vacuuming, glass polishing, dusting, kitchen duties, sweeping and mopping, and laundry if needed. The House is three stories. The main floor consists of a front welcoming room, a commons area, and a massive family room that has play areas, a pool table, and a big screen TV. On the second and third stories the layout is similar with rooms for the guests, laundry room, kitchen and dining areas, library and computer rooms.
Though I would like to help in a more face to face way, this is what these families need. They need the basics of life done so that they can spend as much time as possible with their ill child. I am happy to clean so that the parents can get at least a bit more precious time with their child and still come back to a clean, friendly atmosphere where they don't have to worry about the everyday things. Plus I love seeing the kid friendly decorations throughout the RMH. My favorite being a life-size Sulley from the Monster Inc. cartoon.