Ronald McDonald House of the Red River Valley - The House that Love Built

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April 26, 2013

Internship: A Ronald McDonald House Experience

We are sad to say that our intern, Christie, will be finishing finals and heading on to her fun summer plans next week. Before she can go too far, we had her write another blog about the second half of her internship experience. Check it out!

 

Making a House a Home

 

My 15 weeks at the House have gone by in a flash and now it is time to reflect on my experience.

 

I worked on a variety of projects during my time; my favorite being the design of the Annual Report. I created new pages which focused on the three main events: Sweetheart Ball, Golf Tournament, and Ride. Constructing a page which promoted the accomplishments of each event and the hard work put forth by the House and Committees was exciting. The efforts to make the events possible are extraordinary and they deserve to be better recognized.

Keep an eye out for the Annual Report to be released- you’ll be inspired by the work constantly being done by the House.

 

The RMH gives families comfort and support during difficult times. Additionally, the sense of community is felt on all floors. On any given day you will most likely hear laughter and stories being told in the corner office- Erica’s office. This is where I spend most of my time when I’m at the House. I have gotten to know Erica very well and we are constantly discovering new things we have in common. I’m honored to call her a friend. She has inspired me to pursue my passions and set challenging goals for myself.

If you don’t know Erica, you’re missing out!

 

Currently the RMH is developing new strategies which bring more families, volunteers, and donors to the House. It is amazing being part of a House focused future growth potential. My internship experience allowed me to grow as well. I was challenged, inspired, and trusted to do my best at all projects. Everyday I learned something new about myself and the staff members. This internship experience has encouraged me to continue pursing my passion in non-profits.

I have made the Ronald McDonald House my Home.

 

I hope you got a sense of the experiences I had while interning at the House. With welcoming arms and kind hearts, the RMH gladly opens their doors to families in need. I encourage you to take an hour and come by the House to visit. Take part in the experience that makes this House and Home to many families- and interns.

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March 6, 2013

RMHC: An intern’s story

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As I scrape another layer of fresh snow off my car and cautiously drive down the road, a feeling of excitement fills the car as I near my destination. I arrive at the big yellow house and immediately start getting energized. Hello, my name is Christie Gleason and I am the newest addition to the Fargo Ronald McDonald House family – the intern.

 

I started my internship during the planning the biggest event of the year: the Sweetheart Ball. Give me an event filled with fancy dresses, good food, and a meaningful cause, and I’m ready to help in any way. My first task was to learn how to use the tempered and opinionated printer in order to scan each of the donation items. After making friends with the printer and organizing the donation items, I began to make phone calls asking for additional support for the event. Before I knew it, the list of donations that needed to be picked up grew quickly. Eager to see the items that were donated I offered my services to go pick them up. With every pick-up the realization of the event’s approaching date also began to fill the car; it was less than one week away.

 

Arriving at the hotel the morning of the event, I saw the organized chaos quickly begin. The committee members and volunteers were hard at work getting the donation items organized and decorations placed throughout the room. The room began to feel elegant and the wait was finally over! The 24th annual SHB would be starting in a few hours.

 

As the guests began to rush in from the cold, my work began. Checking everyone in allowed me to personally welcome each guest and wish them a night full of laughter and fun. The event was off to a great start and I started to appreciate the event for its true meaning; supporting families who are in need. The family who was honored at the event gave a very meaningful testimony of their stay at the Ronald McDonald House reminding everyone of the true meaning of event. The Ronald McDonald House Charities is a respected, trustworthy, and caring organization and I am extremely honored to be a part of this family.

 

Immediately after the SHB was over, another big event for the Ronald McDonald House was approaching – Giving Hearts Day. This is an entire day focused on the power of giving and the impact it can make for organizations who serve the community. An important part of my internship is to promote this event by sending out postcards, emails, and posting to social media cites. Through the implementation of new strategies for awareness and generous donations, GHD was a huge success! Thank you to everyone who donated, we greatly appreciate your support.

 

With the final touches of the Sweetheart Ball and Giving Hearts Day completed, it is time to work on new tasks, learn more about the organization, and gain new experiences. Having this internship has been a blessing and I am lucky to spend a few more weeks here at the House.

 

Until next time,

Christie

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February 26, 2013

The legacy of the Shamrock Shake

Okay, okay… so we haven’t blogged in a long time. Well, consider this a TREAT! I was thinking about all the awesome stuff I could tell you and really wanted to share this fun story, that a lot of you might not know!

 

I don’t know about you, but i LOVE Shamrock Shakes… LOVE them! I don’t know what it is, but there is something about that delicious shake that I just can’t get enough of, so when I heard this story I was so excited to share it with the world.

 

The Shamrock Shake:

Rob Mercer

A beloved treat with a legacy of love

Since first launching in the U.S. in 1970, the Shamrock Shake has built an almost cult-like following. Fans eagerly await its annual return to the menu for those magical few weeks leading up to the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. But the beloved minty green treat has another legacy that even its most loyal fans may not know.

It all began with a little girl, a football team, and a visionary doctor. When Philadelphia Eagles tight end Fred Hill’s 3-year-old daughter, Kim, was being treated for leukemia in 1974, his life changed. He and his wife, Fran, camped out on hospital benches and sat in cramped waiting rooms during Kim’s three years of treatment. The Hills watched other parents and families of seriously ill children do the same thing. Many of the families had to travel long distances for their children to receive medical treatment and couldn’t afford hotel rooms.

The Hills knew there had to be a solution. Fred rallied the support of his teammates to raise funds. Through Jim Murray, the Eagles’ general manager, the team offered its support to Dr. Audrey Evans, head of the pediatric oncology unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Evans had long dreamed of a “home away from home” for families of children being treated at her hospital.

Murray called Don Tuckerman, a friend from the local McDonald’s advertising agency. “What’s your next promotion?” he asked. “St Patrick’s Day,” Tuckerman said. “Shamrock Shakes.”

It was perfect: The milkshakes were green – the Eagles’ color! With the support of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc and regional manager Ed Rensi, Tuckerman launched a week-long promotion around the Shamrock Shake, with all profits to be donated to the cause.
Enough funds were raised to help buy an old four-story, seven-bedroom house Evans had found near the hospital. It opened in 1974 as the first Ronald McDonald House.

The network of Houses grew quickly after that, offering families around the world a way to stay together in proximity to the hospital where their child was being treated, and be comfortable and cared for during their stay. In 2012, RMHC plans to build 16 Ronald McDonald Houses, 12 Ronald McDonald Family Rooms and 5 Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles.

Now that’s a reason to celebrate the return of the Shamrock Shake.

www.aboutmcdonalds.com

 

How neat is that?!

 

If you don’t already, make sure you follow us on Twitter: @RMHCFargo & check out our Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/RMHCRRV for more fun facts and stories about RMHC & the families we serve.

 

 

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August 17, 2012

Sharing Comfort When it’s Needed Most

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We are so fortunate to have some amazing groups and individuals that donate quilts to us at the Ronald McDonald House! One of the cool things that we get to do is give each of our families a quilt to use and take with them when they get to go home. I love blankets and quilts and they are such a huge form of comfort for everyone. Each of our families gets to feel that comfort while they are with us and then take a piece of us home with them.

 

A lot of our quilts also come with unique stories about how they were made… In classrooms, church circles, grandmother/granddaughter projects, family bonding, and more. No matter the story, each of our quilts are made with a little extra love!

 

Last week, we were fortunate enough to get a huge gift of these quilts! Mary Dahlen has been hand-painting quilts for as long as she can remember. Mary has a large family and made quilts for each of her kids when they were little and found a love for this art form. She has been hand painting quilts as a form of relaxation and fun.

 

Mary works at the Shooting Star Casino in Mahnomen and teamed up with them to get some blankets to use for her hobby. Shooting Star Casino donated blankets to Mary to be made into quilts and donated to an organization. Theresa Flocken of Shooting Star Casino mentioned the Ronald McDonald House and Mary went to work.

 

Mary has a huge heart and made the trip to Fargo last week to donate 60 quilts to the Ronald McDonald House. Each of the quilts were hand painted with Disney princesses, cartoon characters, football teams, & fun animals and landscapes!

 

We are so excited to share these quilts with our families and continue to provide comfort when it is needed most.

 

A huge thank you goes out to all our quilters- you help us make a huge difference in the lives of the families that walk through out doors everyday!

Mary & Development Coordinator, Erica

 

Mary Dahlen & Theresa Flocken – Shooting Star Casino

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August 9, 2012

A Summer at RMHC

If you follow our Facebook page you know that we’ve been fortunate enough to have a Philanthropy And Youth intern this summer through the Barry Foundation! If you don’t follow us on Facebook, shame on you! Follow here :) Our intern, Josie, wrote a blog on her last day reflecting back on the summer she has had with us. Read below!

 

Hi there! I’m Josie Perhus and it’s my last day as an intern for the Ronald McDonald House of the Red River Valley.  I was here for 9 weeks, 40 hours a week, through the Philanthropy and Youth program with The Barry Foundation. I’m going to miss it here so much! Everyone’s been so nice and they all do truly wonderful work here. It’s been amazing to see how giving everyone is and see how helpful they are to the families we serve and it is so great to have been a part of.

 

I’m 16 and I’m going to be a junior at Shanley High School this year and I can’t imagine going back to school after working full time! It’s such a change. It’s going to be so weird not coming in to work every morning.

 

Not to worry, though. I filled out a volunteer application a few days ago. They can’t get rid of me that easily. :)

 

I’m so grateful for this experience and I can’t even express to you how much I’ve learned. From people skills to computer skills to mail merge to using the paper folder to everything else you could imagine! (If you’ve never used a paper folder I highly suggest you find one and use it before you die.)

 

I helped with making some binders for our guests that include history of the house, rules of the house, local activities, local places of worship, and local transportation. I also helped with numerous volunteer things such as organizing data in their database, creating folders for volunteer orientations, and totaling hours of volunteers. I did these things as well as numerous mailings and other random things that needed to be done.

 

This has prepared me for so much in my future and I am so thankful for the staff here taking time out of their days to teach me and help me help the Ronald McDonald House. It’s been so amazing.

 

That’s all from me. Thanks for reading my rambling and have a great day!

 

Watch this short video for more about Josie & her experience!

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June 4, 2012

Pop Tab Pandemonium

Our silly pop tab collecting friends at Oak Grove Kindergarten

 

The Ronald McDonald House has been fortunate to be able to have a few booths at local events recently. We had a blast at the Fargo Marathon watching all the people that came to town for the event, and we got to support our volunteers at FirstLink’s volunteer appreciation night at the Red Hawks game last week. I love talking to people about all the fun stuff that we have going on at the Ronald McDonald House! One question that I get frequently is, “Do you still collect pop tabs?” the answer my friends is, YES!!

 

After a couple year hiatus, the pop tab program has returned to Fargo! We love all our pop tab collecting friends. It’s a fun and easy way to show a lot of support for your local Ronald McDonald House. I don’t know about you, but ever since I’ve been in elementary school I’ve been collecting pop tabs. It becomes such a habit – you finish your pop and pop off the tab! (sidenote: we also collect tabs of soup cans or tennis ball containers)

 

Pop tabs are easy to collect and store and way less messy than collecting the whole can (but we still encourage you to recycle the can, too, don’t throw it away!)

 

The Ronald McDonald House Pull Tab Collection Program was established in 1987 by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Ronald McDonald House Community. Since that time, Ronald McDonald Houses all around the world have recycled BILLIONS of pull tabs and earned MILLIONS of dollars to help families in need. Thanks in part to all those tabs, families are able to live at our Houses for little or no cost.

This is an easy and fun project for schools, clubs or other large groups, as well as individuals and families. All you need are a few collection containers and a lot of enthusiasm. In fact, we had an AWESOME turn out for this year’s pop tab pandemonium school contest. Schools all throughout the area collected pop tabs and donated them to the Ronald McDonald House! Our top 3 schools this year were: Verndale Elementary, Horace Mann/Roosevelt, and Bennett Elementary.

 

For more information on our pop tab program or to find out where to drop them off, check out our website:

http://www.rmhcfargo.org/howyoucanhelp/poptabs.html 

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April 2, 2012

An intern’s story

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Today we have a guest blogger – one of our RMHC interns, Amanda.

 

Tuesday/Thursdays are my favorite days of the week. Not just because they both start with the letter “t” or end in “day,” but because Tuesdays and Thursdays are the days I have the privilege of interning at the Ronald McDonald House here in Fargo.

 

The first couple of days of interning were a whirlwind. I wanted to learn everything I could about RMHC in a short period of time along with jumping head first into various projects around the office. The ladies at the South house were able to hone all of my excitement about this new journey into sky-high productivity.

 

With the Sweetheart Ball (SHB) approaching fast, I was attached to the scanner at the hip, making sure each donation we had received had been scanned onto the computer. Being from California, I thoroughly enjoy driving for long periods of time so when I was asked to travel around the FM area to pick-up silent auction donations; I set up Google Maps on my phone (a girl’s best friend) and was raring to go. I never really knew where I was heading but I was glad to be a part of something bigger. Let’s just say I may have taken a wrong turn here or there but in the end each and every donated item made it to the silent auction table at the SHB.

 

The morning of the SHB had arrived and the committee, staff, and volunteers arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed. Projects were given out and without hesitation, everyone went straight to work. I helped organize the silent auction items, labeled name cards, and even had the opportunity to sit down with some of the ladies who helped to plan the event over a six-inch sub from Subway. As night fell, I threw on my blazer and heels and was ready for SHB 2012.

 

As guests arrived, I could hear the chatter of old friends reuniting, coworkers excited to represent their company, children laughing and playing, and most importantly the sweet voice of Ronald McDonald. Side note:  I was excited when I received my “I met Ronald” sticker and I now have it displayed in my apartment for all the world to see. As the evening progressed, so did the excitement for what this organization stands for. We heard one family’s story of their experience with RMHC and I was moved to tears. The night was filled with laughs, silent auction battles, and good company.

 

After the SHB was complete, it was time to resurface things that had been buried under receipts, thank you notes, donation requests, and decorations. Things like the beginnings of the 2011 Annual Report, pictures for updating the website, and a newsletter to name a few. There is definitely work to be done. J  We are now at the beginning stages of planning the annual Golf Tournament, which takes place in July. Letters have been sent out and teams are starting to form. I unfortunately will not be able to see the final product, being that I graduate from Concordia in May but I know that the hard work put into this event will not go unnoticed.

 

That’s it from me,

-The Intern

 

Amanda hard at work at the Sweetheart Ball

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March 27, 2012

2 simple words

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Wow! It has been far too long since our last blog post. I know, I know – every person I talk to says the key to writing a good blog is consistency – so first I wanted to apologize for the inconsistent words coming from this end. Here we go – My first EVER New Year’s resolution (2 months later): Be better at writing this blog – now you need to hold me to it!

 

As I sat in front of my computer screen today I was trying to think of where to begin with getting ‘up to date’ with the Ronald McDonald House. So much has happened since December I’m not even sure where to begin, but what kept coming back to me was how thankful that I am (we all are!) for all the support we have received.

 

Since the last blog post: We were able to offer Christmas gifts to the families that didn’t have time and/or funds to get any, take part in Cowboy Christmas in Flom (a DEFINITE MUST ATTEND for everyone next year!), have a tremendous time with phenomenal support at the 23rd Annual Sweetheart Ball, get great support from on all our friends on Giving Heart’s Day, partner with Monster Jam to have a little fun with the kiddos, start recruiting for 2012 GoFar Charity team, partner with Camy Couture for a fun shopping day to benefit RMHC, and get nominated and become a finalist for the 2012 Chamber Choice Small Not-for-Profit of the year.

 

Time has been flying by! We are so excited for what is in store for this year, but as I reflect on what has already, I wanted to say THANK YOU! Thank you to our donors. Thank you to our volunteers. Thank you to our pop tab collectors. Thank you our Board of Directors. Thank you to our families. Thank you to our friends.

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December 5, 2011

The Perfect Gift

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It’s that time of year again!! The Christmas songs are playing, calendars are filling up, it is absolutely ridiculous to try to find a parking spot at the mall, wreaths are hanging on doors, Christmas lights are lit up all over town, Santa is appearing at various locations, there is a sense of cheer in the air, and you can find giving trees around town. If you can’t tell – I LOVE Christmas.

 

My favorite part of the holidays is finding that perfect gift for someone and watching a smile crawl across their face as they open up THE PERFECT GIFT!

 

With the help of McDonald’s & the generous people of the Red River Valley, the Ronald McDonald House is giving the perfect gift to families who have children receiving medical care this holiday season. This is the second year that McDonald’s locations in the Red River Valley have paired up with the Ronald McDonald House to provide gifts for families that are staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Fargo.

 

Last year was an absolutely humbling experience to see the generosity of the people of the Red River Valley. Offering amenities & gifts to the families staying at our houses is an awesome gift that we are able to give because of all our supporters. It helps take the stress out of the holidays when these families are already in a stressful time.

 

Stop by your local McDonald’s and ask about the Giving Tree. You can pick an ornament off the tree and return the item to McDonald’s.

Some of the items from the Giving Tree in 2010

 

A HUGE THANK YOU to all the McDonald’s owner-operators in the Red River Valley and all who take part in the Giving Tree Project.

 

 

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October 25, 2011

How do you pop the tab?

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As many of you know, saving your pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House is an easy way to help out. All you have to do is pop off the tab of your pop or other beverage can, soup can, pet food can, tennis ball container, etc. and save them in some sort of container. When you get a good amount, you can drop off your pop tabs at the Ronald McDonald House, at Cash Wise foods (on 13th Ave in Fargo), or at any of the recycling centers and let them know you would like the proceeds to go to the Ronald McDoanld House.

 

Now, all that is fine and good – (We LOVE our pop tab collectors!) but we’re wondering – How do YOU pop the tab?

 

It was recently brought to my attention that some people have specific “methods” of how they get the pop tab off their can. Do you have a method? Do you make sure that you get the little circle that connects the tab to the can? Do you do the pop tab “flick”?

 

Personally – I do the frontward, backward, frontward, pull.

 

I’ve heard the – frontward, backward, frontward, twist & pull. (apparently the twist is important for keeping the circle connector with the tab)

 

So what’s your method?! Let us know!!

Circle connector off? Or on?

 

The Ronald McDonald House has small collector houses available upon request. If you are interested please email erica@rmhcfargo.org

 

Thank you to those who shared your method and brought this to my attention.