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Ronald Ronald McDonald House at Rady’s Childrens Hospital

Olivenhain Valley 4-H | San Diego County Status: Complete Categories: Citizenship, Food and Nutrition, Social and Emotional Health Youth Leader: Michael | Age: 14

The Issue

The Ronald McDonald House is place where families with critically ill children at the hospital stay. Many of the families cannot afford hotel rooms and food when their child is in the hospital for such a long period of time. The Ronald McDonald House provides a nice place for them to stay and food whenever they need it. This gets very expensive and the Ronald McDonald House needs help from outside organizations, both financially and through volunteering. This is where 4-H can help! This project is so important to our members there isn’t anything worse for a parent than to have something wrong with their child. These families have to struggle with being there for their sick child and they don't need the extra stress of worrying about place to stay and feeding their families. The Ronald McDonald House’s staff try to make a difficult situation more bearable when the families are going through the worst time of their life, but it is hard. Our 4-H members believe it has a huge impact on the children who are actually sick because their families can stay near them and visit as much as possible. We want to do all we can to help them recover!

How did 4-H Help?

Our 4-H group put on a dinner event for the families who were staying at the Ronald McDonald House. The 4-H members set up, helped cook and serve food, and provided entertainment. We organized everything ahead of time and 4-H members where assigned to stations. There were some 4-H kids who served drinks and food. At another station there were 4-H kids doing crafts with the siblings of the ill children. At another station there were kids baking and serving cookies for dessert. There was also an ice cream bar. There was even one 4-H member playing piano during the dinner for all the families to enjoy. We had 2 tables that had posters and information about what 4-H was about. We also had kids bring items from their projects they did and display them. The sewing group even made blankets for the kids in the hospital and gave them away.

The Impact

The 4-H members made a huge impact on these families.

One of the fathers who had a child who had been in a coma and just woke up came up to one of our members and thanked him for our event, he said it had made his children laugh, which is special in such a hard time.

We made sure we had exposure in the community by being interviewed in the San Diego Union Tribune where we talked about 4-H and the Revolution of Responsibility. The next week we received a letter with a note and $50. It was from some grandparents whose grandchild was in the hospital and the parents were staying at the Ronald McDonald House. It said how thankful they were that 4-H was putting on this event, how much it meant to them and they wanted to donate. I couldn't believe it. It was great exposure of how 4-H kids can make a difference in our community. We worked as a team, strengthening our bond with each-other and the community. It was an event we will all remember for the rest of our lives. All of us worked together to make this event a success. With the money we received we served over 150 people and were able to provide extra food for their pantry. The people staying there were so appreciative. The families had a great time!