Pay it Forward

photoI’m a mom and a marketer in that order. I am happiest when I’m busy and my time is filled with meaningful things to accomplish either at work, home or in the community. I enjoy baking, reading, biking, and history- learning about it and visiting historic places. I feel like it helps me understand why we are where we are today by understanding the forces that shaped us from the past.

Above all, I’m an optimist, always looking for a silver lining, or a positive spin to put on things (which I’ve been told can get annoying if you just want to vent sometimes!)

I am also a volunteer RMHC Board Member and Marketing Committee member. I volunteer for two reasons- because I have been so blessed in my life and I want to pay it forward, and because there is so much need and even by just the little bit that I can do I hope that I am helping make the world a little bit better. The Bonus is that it is a great way to meet new people and learn new things.

img_6520I got involved in Ronald McDonald House because I volunteered through work with a co-worker, Deb Gondek who was a former President of the Board at Ronald McDonald House Charities of WNY. She mentioned to me that there was an opening on the Marketing Committee and thought I would be great for it. I was familiar with and impressed by how the house helped in the community both from having volunteered for “Cooks for Kids” in the past with a group at Rich Products where I work, and from good friends of ours from Jamestown saying glowing things about their stay at the house when their son was born prematurely. So when Deb mentioned the opportunity it was like a light went on- I felt a pull to get involved and have been grateful ever since!

Since then my initial impression of the work that RMH does has only been reinforced more deeply. Every time I walk in the door of the house I feel the relaxed warmth that truly seems like the “home away from home” RMH hopes to be. From the families sharing breakfast in the kitchen, to the kids playing in the playroom, to the warmth and dedication of the staff that I see over and over, it feels like a little bit of healing for the body and soul is at work in every room.

I love being able to talk about that in the community and I do so all the time, trying to make sure others are aware of the good work going on at RMH and letting others know how they can help; I’ve learned that a comforting place to rely on is just as important to healing as the medicine and equipment being used in the hospital. When parents and kids leave the support of the hospital corridors they have the warmth and support of the homey hallways of RMH too and that is also key to helping them keep their mental and physical strength for another day.

When I talk to others about the RMH experience I always tell them they should visit- when they pull up they’ll see that it is a beautiful house, and as they come inside they’ll realize it’s also a warm and welcoming HOME.

The best thing about being an RMHC volunteer and Board Member is knowing that I am helping in some small way to keep this important community organization strong and healthy so it can serve children and families long into the future.

-by Janice Larson