Making a Difference. Together.
Volunteering at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Indiana is a rewarding experience – from heartwarming moments helping families at the House, to the thankfulness for one’s own life and privileges that service to others often shines a light on. But for Christine “Chris” Jackson and Vicki Browne, volunteering has also kindled a close friendship.
Chris and Vicki didn’t know one another prior to volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House – Chris started volunteering in 2015, and Vicki followed about a year later. From their first shift together, the pair hit it off. You would think the two have been lifelong friends. They interact in much the same way they serve the House – as a pair, finishing each other’s thoughts or tag-teaming work projects. Chris explains, “I don’t think we take each other very seriously,” while Vicki finishes “we’re very compatible.” It’s this back and forth that has made them an endearing and appreciated pair of volunteers at the House, engaging families and children, and putting them at ease during trying times.
Volunteering can put life in perspective. “You think you have all the problems of the world, you think you have a big heavy load, but then you step outside of your box,” Chris explains. “I try to imagine some of these families that have been here for months, and they have jobs and they have homes and they probably have pets. You think about something small that goes wrong in your own home, about what an inconvenience it is. This puts it in perspective, and you quit thinking about yourself for a bit.”
The experience unveils treasured moments at every turn. Guest Services Volunteers are the first faces people see when they stay at the House and that allows them the opportunity to witness the profound impact staying at the House has on those families. It’s an impact that volunteers help create. Chris recounts how a sick child’s sister staying at the House recently celebrated her birthday. Volunteers, including Chris, stepped up to make it a special day for the little girl. They gathered a collection of donated toys and decorations and put together a party – a memory she and her family will carry for a lifetime.
It can be a fast-paced environment. “You hit the ground running when you come in. There’s physical work like cleaning rooms or doing laundry, we are busy the whole time we’re here. It’s good to have the variety of things to do,” Vicki shares. But despite the fast pace, taking time for families has an impact on volunteer and family alike. Chris puts it all into perspective, “For me, it’s making the personal connection with another person. I think for the families, it makes them feel like they aren’t another number. They’re more than just an illness.”
Donating your time and talent to the Ronald McDonald House makes a difference in the lives of the more than 5,000 families we serve annually. Opportunities for groups and individuals are available, including guest services, preparing and serving meals, and much more. Guest Services Volunteers receive 12 hours of hands-on training with staff and veteran volunteers. Click here to learn more, or contact Mary Friend at 317.267.0605 ext 225 or by email at email@example.com.