The very first day I stepped into the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, I knew immediately I wanted to be part of the organization. There was no guesswork, or wondering, or hem-hawing ~ I saw what the volunteers and the staff were doing with their lives, the way they were helping children and families in need, and I just knew I had to join in.
Five years later, I’m so humbled and honored and proud to say that I get to join this life-changing organization as its new Communications Manager, reporting to the guy you all probably know and love, Ryan Wilkins, the Director of Communications and Facilities.
I also have an amazing opportunity to work with, and learn from, the amazing Dee Anders, CEO and Executive Director. Plus, some of the best people I know work there, too; from the heartwarming Jamie Foltz, to the most loving family activities manager, Abigail Brumme, and my new teammate and office mate at “The Beach,” Lynne Holmes.
It is a dream come true.
I started with RMHC as an active member of the Red Shoe Society; a professionals network dedicated to serving the House. I would make breakfasts for the House families, donate time and money, and serve on committees. Eventually, when I started my own production company, Eleven One Productions, I chose the RMHC as a recipient of my company’s donated PSA’s ~ I give away three every year to nonprofits. It’s featured on the RMHC home page; you can watch it here.
I worked closely with Ryan, Abigail, and Jamie, as well as other volunteers, over the years and always hoped that, someday, the RMHC would be my home away from home. The most perfect job I could ever have ~ because it wouldn’t feel like a job. It would feel like fulfilling a piece of my life’s mission. Yes, I loved to write when I was a journalist ~ and I still write. Yes, I love to make films ~ and I still make films. But most of all, in my life, I love being a mother.
I remember the day I had to rush my child to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital emergency room after she tripped on a flipped-up rug and tore her forehead open above her eye on the corner of a table. Suddenly, I was that parent, sitting in the emergency room, alone, waiting to see if my kid would be OK. I felt the helplessness of not knowing, of waiting, of wondering, of worrying; but I was lucky. I lived in Columbus, Ohio, where I was privileged to have access to the best healthcare my child could ever receive at Nationwide Children’s. Where I could easily make arrangements for work, for groceries, for assistance, for anything I needed.
Some families are not so lucky.
Families from every state in the union and across the world have traveled to Columbus, Ohio, to give their child the same care I received at Nationwide Children’s ~ the best care. And when they find out it will take weeks, or months, or years, to help their child, where do they go? Where does someone from California stay when they’re thousands of miles from their home? How do they eat or get transportation? How do they do laundry? How do they find a sense of normalcy in a situation that is no longer normal?
I’ll tell you how.
They come to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. They come to a place where they can live life, uninterrupted, during the greatest interruption they will ever face ~ a sick child.
And how could I not be humbled and grateful and excited to help Ryan and the RMHC team tell that story? To me, it is the greatest story I will ever write. It speaks to a calling in my life, a purpose, a mission, an opportunity to do more than a job. It is an opportunity to help change lives. To make them better. For parents just like me. For kids just like my daughter.
Yes, I will still be writing and making movies and raising my not-so-tiny tot, but I am so honored to say that, beginning tomorrow, I also get to be part of an amazing team at RMHC. The best team. My new team and home.
Thank you, Ryan, and RMHC, for making me part of the family. I am truly blessed to join your organization.
Come say “Hi!” the next time you visit or feel free to make a donation to an organization that truly helps families in need. (And get used to seeing more about the RMCH on my Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn pages!)
Let’s talk soon about how we can all help the RMHC help families!