More than a Room

7.26.22

When you walk into the Ronald McDonald Family Room, the first thing you notice is the smiling face of a volunteer. Last Wednesday, that volunteer was Jill, who has been with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona for nearly 6 years after retiring from her career as a pediatric physical therapist.

“I retired and knew I wanted to give back and fill my time a little bit,” Jill said. “I felt like the Ronald McDonald Family Room was a good match for me.”

The Ronald McDonald Family Room is located outside the NICU inside Banner Children’s Diamond Children’s Medical Center (Diamond Children’s). The colorful room is outfitted with cozy seating options, a computer workspace, a dining table, and a large coffee and snack bar. It’s everything mom or dad might want while visiting their child in the hospital.

While there, Shelley, the Health Unit Coordinator for the NICU, walked in to grab her morning coffee.

“The Family Room is a lifesaver for families and nurses,” she said. “Sometimes it’s difficult for our nurses to get out for lunch so they will stop in for a quick bite before running off to check on their next patient.”

Then a mom walked in. She was contemplating which snack to grab when she overheard our conversation, so she jumped in. “You have been absolutely amazing,” she said. “I appreciate everything that you’ve done for me and my family.”

Her twins stayed in the NICU after they were born. They were discharged not long after, but now they’re back while one of the twins has surgery on his eye. He’s doing great!

It doesn’t take long to see how vital the program is for families and hospital staff.

And soon the Ronald McDonald Family Room program will serve even more families. Our second Ronald McDonald Family Room is set to open at Tucson Medical Center (TMC) in early to mid-September.

Before we can open those doors, we need volunteers to help that room feel as welcoming as the one at Diamond Children’s.

As a Ronald McDonald Family Room volunteer, you get to interact with families daily, offering a few warm and comforting words while they steep a cup of tea or rest on the couch.

“The ideal candidate is someone who’s reliable,” said Jill. “Someone who’s friendly and, I think, pretty outgoing.”

Apply to volunteer in the Ronald McDonald Family Room at TMC by using our online application. If you have questions about the position, please contact Christine LaBoy, Program Manager for RMHC-SA at claboy@rmhctucson.org.

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