My fourth week at the Ronald McDonald House has been quite an adventure, to say the least. This ‘adventure’ consisted of 50 boxes of pillows, three volunteer groups, and one volunteer orientation session. This all resulted in one highly caffeinated/sugar high summer fellow and a lot of odd projects being accomplished throughout Columbus’ home-away-from-home.
This week was a true learning experience in the craziness that is sometimes Volunteer Management. I worked with three different corporate groups throughout this past week who came into the House to volunteer. For the sake of the volunteer stewardship plan, I identify these groups as Special Project Groups. This was a great way for me to experience exactly what the dynamic of a special project group looks like, which will help me figure out how to thank them in the stewardship plan. One of the groups, Nationwide Insurance, helped the House out by gathering up toiletries, cleaning supplies and towels to stock all forty-two new rooms in the expansion. Grange Insurance, who came later in the week, then stocked each of those forty-two rooms with those things in addition to toilet paper, Kleenex, and blankets.
One of the clear highlights of this week was the Columbus Foundation Learning Session that I had on Wednesday, June 25th. This session featured four local non-profit leaders who came to talk about non-profit career paths. This was such a great session for me, as I plan on actively pursuing a career in the non-profit sector after I graduate from Otterbein next May. One of my favorite parts of this session was to hear all about the crazy path that each of these leaders took to get to where they are today. Each of these four leaders stories left me reassured that I can succeed as long as I continue to work hard and follow my passion. As one of the leaders so aptly put it: “Your passion leads to your purpose!” Another interesting part of this session was a lengthy discussion on the importance of receiving a Masters degree. This part of the session was also very helpful, as I have been juggling about when and where I should try to receive my Masters degree. I feel reassured about my decision to go and work for a number of years before I go back to receive my Masters degree.
One final word of advice that has fueled my work this week was this: “Take the time to take care of yourself, so that you are able to work for organizations that help others.” This statement appeared in our discussion about burnout within the non-profit sector, with an emphasis on how easy it is for non-profit professionals to over extend and over commit themselves. I have tried to take more time to myself this week by working out more, eating right and getting more sleep in the hopes that I can work harder at the House.
Perhaps one of my favorite experiences this week was going out to lunch with my supervisor, Kate Ziegler, across the street at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. I had never been inside Children’s, so it was a big surprise to see how absolutely stunning it is. I was shocked at how beautiful each of the different parts of the building were. I particularly enjoyed hearing a story about how after children finish their last chemo treatment at Children’s, they crowd into the forest room and ring a bell. This story really showed me how important Nationwide Children’s and the Ronald McDonald House are to helping these families. It has been quite an exhausting week, but I can’t wait to see the lessons, experience and adventures that next week has in store!