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MAY 2011

MAY 2011

Ronald McDonald House of Connecticut

The House That Love Built

Better Together
Family-that’s what makes RMH a home. Being surrounded by family makes the
seemingly endless days of doctor appointments and hospital visits more bearable.
Here at the Ronald McDonald House of CT our goal is to care for the families staying
here as if they were our own. They become our FAMILY. We eat meals together,
play Wii and Bingo together, cry and celebrate together and help them in every way
we can.

Many families get separated when a critically ill child receives treatment away from
home. Often, leaving siblings at home to be cared for by a family member or
friend. The Pont family lives in Connecticut but just far enough away that the family
is separated most of the week. While Theresa is receiving cancer treatment, her
parents stay with her at RMH, leaving her 2 brothers, Robert and Anthony, back at
home. The boys try to feel as normal as possible-attending school and doing the things
7 and 8 year old boys do. But they are missing their sister, their friend, their
“ringleader” as her dad calls her. That’s where RMH can help. We have plenty of
room for Theresa’s brothers to join her, so weekends become special occasions for the
family. The boys spend each weekend reconnecting with their parents and sister.
When the Pont’s reunite, laughter rings out from the dining room and a smile is back
on Theresa’s face. Everyone perks up a bit, because they are together.

They have a strong family bond that allows them to fight Theresa’s battle head on and
by her side. Time together is special, and if RMH can
provide more of it, we’ve done our jobs.

“The world is hugged by the faithful arms of volunteers”

~ Terri Guillemets

They say it takes a village, here at the Ronald McDonald House it takes a village of vol-
unteers. Loving, Giving, Committed people and lots of them. They are the life blood of
our house and because of their kindness we are able to care for and love every family that
enters our doors.
I would like to take this opportunity to speak for the Board of Directors as well as the
McDonald’s family and say Thank You to all those who are currently volunteering or
have volunteered over the last 25 years. I speak from the heart when I say we could not
do this without each and every one of you.

If you haven’t joined this amazing group of people, take a moment to consider what I
have learned to be true in my time here. You always leave the Ronald McDonald House
with much more love than you came in with. Enough love to fill your heart and then
Come ~ Learn for Yourself~

Much Love
Pattie McKnight
You make a difference in a dash
Hi, I’m Danielle Zingaro. I’m a volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House of CT.
Wish List Top Ten RMH provides a home away from home for seriously ill children and their families.
Children come from all over the world for treat-
Eggs ment in area hospitals for various illnesses, and
Fresh Fruit the house provides a place for them and their
Butter families to stay, affordably and comfortably.
Stays could last 1 night for something routine like
Sliced Cheese testing, to an entire year for a transplant patient.
Tuna Fish 95% of the funding comes from donations and
Individual Snacks there are only 4 paid staff members, so the house
Lysol Wipes literally functions because of volunteers. My du-
ties are extremely varied - emptying dishwashers,
Swiffer Wet Jet Pads writing thank you notes, answering phones, play-
Swiffer Duster Refills ing with the children and their siblings and I’m
Giftcards: happy to be able to fulfill whatever task is
Stop & Shop needed.
Walmart Recently, I was training a new volunteer, a foreign college student who had to log a certain
Walgreens number of hours per week for a work-study program. He asked me “Why do you volun-
teer?” “Well, I’m an elementary school teacher who unfortunately became a victim of the
economy and I was laid off at the end of the school year. I have a lot to give, I love children,
I want to help people, and now I have the time to do it. So here I am.” He gave me this weird
look, and I could tell I hadn’t given him the answer he wanted. So he says “Yeah, I know,
but why? Why do PEOPLE volunteer?” I realized he was actually asking me a much deeper
question. He really didn’t get it. Since he HAD to be there, he couldn’t understand why any-
one would actually WANT to be there, of their own free will, going out of their way, and
especially without getting paid, and I had to think about this one for a minute. For me, this
was never a question. I grew up with a single mom who struggled to put food on the table,
yet still gave 10% away to the needier. She instilled in me that someone always has it worse
and I’ve volunteered in different capacities for pretty much my entire life.
Contact Information
So what about you? Why would you volunteer? What if you didn’t, what if I didn’t? What if
Ronald McDonald House of CT no one volunteered, no one gave something of themselves to serve someone else, and in turn
501 George Street the greater good? You can never expect other people to do it. I truly believe that if you’re
New Haven, CT 06511 not a part of the solution, then you are a part of the problem. Of course you’re busy, we all
P 203.777.5683 are. But some of us choose to reach out beyond the confines of our normal responsibilities,
F 203.777.3082 and share. Share our time, skills, advice, experience, friendship, leadership, energy, ideas…
the list goes on. Everyone has something to give. Sir Winston Churchill once said, "We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give."
Facebook: RMH_Connecticut
There will always be something else to do, somewhere else to go, so why, what’s in it for
me? We’re not in this for the recognition… the payback doesn’t come in the form of dollar
bills, but in the sense of accomplishment, ownership, commitment, pride, and simply in the
House Staff experience. Whatever your motives are, you must know that you are making a difference
Cathy Bignolas Celeste Courtemanche and a positive impact on your community, the life of someone else or the life of our planet.
House Director Admin, Assistant And that in and of itself is an awesome reward.
Wendy Kirby Maria Perez
Recently I came across the saying “You make a difference in a dash.” Engraved on our
House Manager Housekeeper
headstones will be the dates of when we were born, and when we died. And in between
those dates, a little dash. So when you think of it, what’s really important are not those two
Board of Directors dates, but what matters most is the dash. That little dash that represents the short time we
have on this earth. You CAN make a difference in a dash.
Patricia McKnight
President Michael Ghadamian
John T. McKenna Carl E. Miller We all have a unique opportunity, better yet a responsibility, to leave the world a better
Vice President John McKnight place than we found it. So my message to you is simple – Go. Do it. Get involved. The
Doris Bernardi Marc Natrillo
Stephen L. Press
world needs your leadership, your skills, your guidance, your gifts and talents, your hands,
Edward Jackson Michael Pych your minds, your hearts. The world needs YOU.
Asst. Treasurer Hope Juckel-Regan
Anne Orum Cynthia Sparer I’m going to leave you with my favorite quote, in the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “You must
Thomas Walsh
Kenneth A. Gribbon
be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Alicia Canning Larry Lazaroff
John DelGrego Jen Lionetti So go, go be that change.
Richard Elder Steve Merz