Volunteer Newsletter: From Our House to Yours | Issue XIX

Hello 2021!

Happy New Year to all! Thank you all for supporting Ronald McDonald House New York through an unprecedented year. 2020 brought a great deal of loss, fear and uncertainty but we couldn’t have persevered through it all without you, our amazing community of volunteers. While there is still a hard road ahead, we face it more prepared and full of hope, knowing our community was able to come together to lift us up in the darkest of times.

We wanted to look back and share with you some of the bright moments from last year:

Thank You to our friends: Bloomberg, Ess-a-Bagel, EJ's Luncheonette, NYPT, Site Centers, Salvatore's of Elmont Pizzeria & Restaurant, MV4NY, Little Beet, Amazon, Fuel the Fight, Start Elevator, PVH, GLWD, Meatball Shop, Mansion Diner, St Vincent de Paul, Yia Yia, Roman and Erica, Calexico, Sandi Kalish, City Beet Kitchen, Sandy Kalish and Salvo's!
Thank you

Rita Kronovet

Team: Wednesday Night

Profession: Retired

How Rita became a Volunteer at RMH-NY: Long ago my very best friend had a 5-year-old boy with a neuroblastoma of the brain. The family sat in the hospital day and night by his side. I joined them many times to keep them company. There was no social support, emotional support or opportunities for help, except direct medical intervention. They sat there devastated and lonely. When I found out about Ronald McDonald House many years later I heard that they were instrumental in making the sorely needed changes that my friends had earlier experienced and I wanted to be part of that change! So, 22 years ago I became a volunteer and I am so very grateful to be given that opportunity.

Rita’s Gratitude: “I want to thank the Ronald McDonald House for allowing me to help and be a part of that much needed change. You are the best!”

Years Volunteering: 22

Favorite Events or Activity: When I walk into the House on any given Wednesday night I hear the same words from the kids. “Are we doing Bingo tonight?” Even though we do so many other activities with the families like painting, dancing, music and cooking, BINGO is always one of their favorite activities AND MINE TOO. I love seeing their faces light up when Andrew and Earl call out the numbers. They make the game so much fun with their wild and crazy antics.

A few of Rita’s Special Memories at the House:

Some very special events stand out in my mind. I’ll never forget when approximately 15 years ago a 20-year-old boy was visiting NYC and wanted to stop into the House where he spent so much time as a child. His face lit up when he heard the familiar voice of Andrew still calling Bingo. The 20-year-old stopped in his tracks and was so overwhelmed with hearing that same voice 15 years later! It was truly beautiful.

One night at dinner, two families, each from a different country shared a table. At that time, it was well known that these two countries were in conflict. It was amazing to watch the families share their food, while laughing and talking.

What do you miss most about not Visiting the house since quarantine began: I miss the House so much. That was one steady Wednesday night activity in my life that I have loved for over 20 years. I miss my fellow Wednesday night volunteers. All of those who work in the Volunteer Department and I truly miss all of the families. I hope this New Year brings us back safely and as soon as possible!!

Rita’s Words: “RMH brings these families together to help one another get through difficult times with understanding and kindness.”-Rita Kronovet

Article submitted by Helena Russo, Communications Volunteer.

Two By Twelve Count Down to 2021

With only a few hours left to 2020, everyone was eager to put the year behind and start a fresh New Year. The team from Two by Twelve Emily: Emily, Joyce & Dori, were ready to get the party started.

They prepared New Year's Eve craft bags that were delivered to the families with dinner. The bags were filled with supplies to make New Year’s Eve decorations for the countdown celebration. First of three crafts was to make a New Years Eve Crown, Emily lead the way with detailed instructions but to everyone’s surprise Eldar had started his crown before the craft party. He did a great job designing his crown festive zig zag crown and was first to be wearing the New Years eve headpiece, it didn’t take long for all on the call to complete their crowns and show them off. Next was a fireworks jar, which was a little tricky but everyone got the idea, third and last craft in the bag was construction paper to make confetti for the big countdown. It was a fun time for all with Ben’s Spiderman watching from the sidelines.

The grand finale was the Countdown, get the confetti ready! 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 Happy 2021 to all our families, RMHNY Staff and Volunteers! May 2021 be a better year and hopefully allow us all back to The House.

Submitted by Helena Russo, Communications Volunteer

Zumba with Maria Baramo

How do you work off your extra holiday calories, ZUMBA Class. Professional Dancer Maria Baramo brought her expertise to the Zoom Classroom to teach the families some basic Zumba steps . The families were happy to join to the music from Hamilton, In the Heights & Frozen, after the warmup Christina, Ben, Eldar, Mariana, Tony, Sabrina and their parents were ready for more. Maria was happy to take requests first one from Ben was Let it Go from Frozen and Ben also had the last request of Jingle Bells. Ben certainly had fun, he brought his pal Spiderman to class. Spiderman was a little shy on the Zumba dancing, he sat quietly in the corner protecting all. The House had a raffle and two lucky families won gift cards and all the families were offered Signed NBA basketballs compliments of the evening’s dinner host the NBA another fun evening at RMHNY.

Submitted by Helena Russo, Communications Volunteer

Happy Holidays from the Youth Advisory Council!

This past month, the Youth Advisory Council prepared holiday gift bags for the families staying at the House. Normally the YAC would do an in-house project, but with the pandemic, the group used their strengths and resources from around the tri-state area to create something special. Final gift bags were made up of confections including personalized treats from Treat House, a cookie icing kit, and assorted candy to bring about a sweet holiday season. Families were also able to participate in their very own arts and crafts by decorating wooden ornaments, putting up holiday lights, and playing with Hanukkah dreidels. Among the gift bags were also donated warm socks and gloves by local New Yorkers along with blankets from Sloane’s Smiles, a start-up by Sloane Wachs, a member of the Youth Advisory Council. The gift bags were finished off with handwritten letters from local New Yorkers and students of NEST+m. The Youth Advisory Council wishes everyone a merry season and is looking forward to making 2021 the most special year yet for the Ronald McDonald House New York!

Submitted by: Carli Seigelstein, Youth Advisory Council Communications Chair

Bloomberg Carnival

On a cold wintery Friday evening at the RMH-NY our friends from Bloomberg brought a summertime memory to our families, a spectacular Carnival, with delicious carnival foods that no one could resist: Corn Dogs, Fried Chicken, popcorn, Soft Pretzels, Mac & Cheese, Carrots w/Ranch Kale Caesar, the only thing missing was the line at the food cart.

Corndogs were the number one hit of the evening. In the goodie bags delivered with dinner there were funny hats in various designs which the families wore while enjoying their dinner before the Carnival Bingo Party. After dinner the Bloomberg Volunteers were ready for fun, led by Sydney with music and jokes they were just warming up for the grand event “Carnival Bingo” it was like no other Bingo; the boards had fun carnival images instead of numbers; balloons, candy, clowns, animals all the sights you would see at the carnival. The callers were anxious to start but before the game began, they sang a favorite tune; "There was a famer who had a dog and BINGO was his name-o B – I - N – G – O," You all know the song and then they started to call out the images and one by one the kids started calling out BINGO, it was clearly a fun time. There were plenty of gift cards for all the winners. It didn’t end there like any great Carnival there was still time for a carnival dance party, and our kids danced along with The Volunteers from Bloomberg.

Submitted by Helena Russo, Communications Volunteer

Making Reality TV More Active

If you’re like me, you’ve been binging on reality TV shows like The Bachelor and Survivor during this pandemic to escape our current reality for a more fun and drama-filled one. However, sitting on the couch for multiple hours at a time isn’t the best for our bodies (unless we’re recovering from injury or strenuous activity!).

To stay semi-active while watching shows, I create workout challenges to do while I watch! This process works great with reality TV shows because you can usually predict what might happen during the episode and assign a specific exercise to each action. For example, on Monday’s newest episode of The Bachelor, I’ll be doing 10 crunches whenever a contestant worries about getting a rose.

If you’re also a fan of The Bachelor, feel free to follow along the below challenge during Monday’s episode! If you’re a fan of a different reality TV show, either look for a challenge online or make your own.

Happy Sweating!

Submitted by: Kelly Chu, Communications Volunteer


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