February 18th, 2021
One site that I have the honor of serving at is Ronald McDonald House Charities® Eastern Wisconsin (RMHC®). I became involved with this organization in the fall of my freshman year at Divine Savior Holy Angels High School (DSHA). Wanting a long-term service site, my mother and I stumbled upon RMHC and knew it would be a great fit, since I want to work in the medical field. I serve there every other Saturday night, and I would not change my shift for the world. During my shift, I empty coffee pots, make sure all General Use refrigerators have two full gallons of milk in them, stock the breakfast bar, wipe down the vending machines, do endless loads of laundry, and so much more. These tasks would seem tedious to those who do not work at the RMHC; however, I enjoy them more every time I go.
Although most times I do not directly interact with the guest families, the volunteer work that I do helps them keep their family as their number one priority, which is our number one priority. A parent should not have to worry about food, laundry, dishes, trash, or any other little household chore; they should give 100% of their time to their children who need care. Every few shifts, a guest and I will talk. They are more than willing to share their story and thank me for helping keep their stay running smoothly. It is extremely rewarding to know that my work, whether big or small, can help a family in need.
One of the best parts about serving at RMHC is the people I get to work with. One volunteer and I often talk about school as we hike up three flights of stairs, each carrying four gallons of milk. Another catches me up on her patients as we fold towels and blankets in the Laundry Room. Another keeps me posted on her college list when we put together gift bags for guest siblings. Another cracks jokes with me as we clean up the Family Dinner Kitchen and take out the trash. Another tells stories about her students before giving me our list of tasks for the shift. If I had not chosen to serve at RMHC, I would not have been able to form these meaningful relationships with my coworkers and managers. They are the definition of selflessness, and they encourage me to be the best person I can be.
Serving at RMHC has taught me many things that have made a huge difference in my life. One of the values that I have learned is communication. I must communicate with my managers, coworkers, and guest families throughout my shifts, whether it be through email, the phone, a walkie-talkie, or face-to-face. However, the greatest value that serving at RMHC has taught me is gratitude. I am lucky enough to live close to a top tier hospital, be able to afford it, and have good health. However, guest families at RMHC are not fortunate enough to have all of these things. This has made me more aware of my blessings and more thankful for the health of my family and friends.
Every once in a while, I have the opportunity to take children to the Magic Room, a place filled with toys and books. Each child is allowed to take one book and one toy from the numerous shelves. I love watching the kids as they place their “Magic Room token” into the swirly slide that magically opens the door to the room (with the help of my key, of course). No matter their situation, the children and their parents are always kind and very thankful for their time in the Magic Room. Best of all, their smiles are priceless.
After graduation, I plan to continue serving at the Ronald McDonald House®. With over 370 Houses around the world, I will surely find one near me in the future, wherever I may be. Serving at the Ronald McDonald House has truly been a life changing experience. I am extremely passionate about my service at RMHC and hope to carry out its mission throughout my daily life.
-Mia Jensen, Teen Volunteer since October 2017