Volunteer Newsletter: From Our House to Yours | Issue X

A Note to Our RMH-NY Community

Dear RMH-NY Community,

Together, with Ronald McDonald House Charities, our Hospital Partners, and in accordance with our local health and government authorities, Ronald McDonald House New York (RMH-NY) is implementing enhanced safety measures and operational processes to move our mission forward and begin to increase our capacity to serve families. While our House has remained open, there has been a number of programs and services paused including the accepting of new reservations.

As we enter the process of gradually reinstating our operations to full capacity through a phased approach, it is important to state the principles that have guided our decision-making and actions:

  • The health and well-being of children, families, staff and the communities in which we operate is our highest priority.
  • We continue to consult with medical, legal and safety experts and Chapter leaders to determine the path forward.
  • We rely on science, facts and information when making decisions – always with the best interest of our system and the people we serve at the forefront.
  • We are committed to continuous learning; we will evaluate and adjust as we learn and the situation evolves.
  • We will operate with accountability and transparency.
  • We are in this together, united in strength and a common mission.

At the instruction of RMHC Global, our healthcare partners and city/state regulations, RMH-NY has implemented a 4 phased-approached to moving forward towards full operation. While we advance into each new phase, the timeline will be dependent on our current health status within NYC and our House. Please see below for a detailed chart outlining our phased approach. As the plan and situation evolves, we will allow for time to continuously adapt our operation policies and most importantly ensuring the health and safety of our families and staff as top priority for us as we continue to meet the challenges presented by COVID-19.

Today, we are proud to share with you that our House has begun Phase I and are working hard to fulfill the requirements to move into Phase II. Our team will continue to provide updates as needed.

The House has welcomed 6 new families from Sunday August 9th to Tuesday August 11th. These families are the first to return since the COVID shut down and marks the official start of Phase One Mission Renewal.
We have placed directional physical distancing markers on the ground and reset the lobby layout. This new layout and signage features an additional desk where families, staff and guest can receive Person Protective Equipment (PPE) and be screened for COVID exposure. The new layout also creates one way foot traffic to reduce the spread of COVID.
Additional signage has been posted around the house to remind and support mask wearing, washing hands, physical distancing, and to avoid touching faces, along with our new elevator policy.

Video & graphics created by Cindy Pham, Project Coordinator

Additional Updates

  • The New Condition of Stay documents were distributed to all families in House and their social workers for review
  • We instituted a terrace schedule for families to have access to space outside their rooms.
  • Families in House have been relocated to new sanitized rooms.
  • The reinstatement of families is pending a follow-up response from RMHC as it pertains to accommodating Person Under Investigation (PUI).
  • An additional security guard has been shifted (8AM-4PM) to assist with our new screening procedure.

This event was organized by Jennifer Ricca, RMH-NY Hospital Outreach & Child Life Specialist

We Miss Our Volunteers!

How to Support our Heroes Fund

  1. Create your own fundraising page on our website. Share the link with your family and friends to ask for their support.
  2. Host a special Event with your community and ask them to make a donation on your fundraising page. It can be anything you want! Some volunteers have hosted exercise or cooking classes. Get creative!
  3. Help us solicit Silent Auction Items. On October 28- November 11 we are hosting our annual online Silent Auction. Please think of any items or special experiences your job, friends or family may have access to and help us collect donated items to auction off this fall!

How to Turn Your Outdoor Walk into a Fun Excursion

Now that we’re (hopefully) over the extreme summer heat waves and headed into crisp fall weather, more and more people are heading outdoors get a change of pace from their remote working weekdays. If you’re looking for a fun way to stay active without a traditional workout, here are a few fun outdoor excursions that rack up a lot of steps but also let you explore the NYC area!

1. Walk the Highline crowd-free! The Highline is now open from noon-8pm every day at limited capacity to encourage social distancing. Reserve your free timed entry tickets here. The Highline is 1.45 miles long and takes about 30 minutes to walk from one end to the other.

2. Visit Storm King Art Center in the Hudson Valley! Storm King is open daily but you must reserve timed entry tickets here. Explore large-scale sculptures and visionary exhibits that combine nature and art in this 500-acre outdoor museum. Visitors typically spend between 2-4 hours exploring the grounds (only outdoor exhibits are open at this time). P.S. – First responders, healthcare workers, and a few other groups are eligible for free tickets! Check out the website for more details.

3. Governor’s Island is now open from 10am-6pm on weekdays and 10am-7pm on weekends! Reserve a timed ferry reservation here to take advantage of this car-free island. Currently, only passive recreation is allowed, including biking, birding, and picnicking. Some visitors have said that a walk around the perimeter of the island takes approximately 2.5 hours.

Article submitted by Kelly Chu, Communications Volunteer


Instructions submitted by Shawna Salinger & Graphic designed by Kelly Quane, Communications Volunteers

Looking for some fun games to play while staying at home? Here are some resources to help you connect with family and friends.

  1. Board Game Arena is a fantastic resource if you want to play board games remotely with friends and family. There is a free version, but in my experience it works better if one person in the party has a premium membership (it’s not that expensive and only one player needs it). They have an extensive selection of games that you can play in real time virtually. I recommend 7 Wonders if you have a large group!
  2. If you are a fan of Codenames there is a free site to play that virtually. This works best when you additionally set up a video call with all players. My Aunt teaches English in Argentina and I have been helping out with some of the classes from here in NY – we love playing codenames for during this time.
  3. Do you have a deck of cards lying around? If you have young kids, I recommend looking at this article with directions on how to play 10 kid friendly card games, including Go Fish, Crazy Eights, and Rummy. If you are looking for some new card games that are more advanced, here is a great resource for that, just click on the name of the card game that looks interesting to you and the instructions on how to play will be provided.
  4. One last thing, it makes a fun daytime activity to have kids make their own board games. Here is an article to get you started, but really this can be a very creative space for kids to use their imaginations and knowledge.

Article Submitted by Andrea Boitnott, Communications Volunteer

Volunteer Spotlight

Elizabeth Ferry

Volunteer: Wellness Center

Profession: Sound Practitioner

Years Volunteering at the House: 3 years

How you got involved: I was in the same Sound Practitioner Training Program as Lisa Kim who was already volunteering at the House in other activities and wanted to introduce this new practice. We enjoyed offering Sound Baths and Sound meditations together to the families!

Favorite Activity: I love offering a gentle sound field for those caregivers receiving massage in the Wellness Center. The sound invites a slowing down of the body so the listener can have a relaxation response. I also enjoy sharing a Sound Bath with families or groups. This is an opportunity to tune into the breath and the body and allow the gentle sounds and imagery to help relax the body and mind deeply.

Volunteer Goal: Offer more Sound Baths! :)

Most Memorable Experience: This is one of those questions where so many moments come to mind. I would say I was very touched when once, when giving a private Sound Bath to a family, the little boy wanted to offer sound to his parents to relax them. I gave him an instrument and showed him how and he was so very careful and attentive. He sweetly offered sound to his parents. It was a very tender moment between him and his parents.

“Gratitude. So thankful to be part of a community that is so heart” - Elizabeth Ferry

Article Submitted by Helena Russo, Communications Volunteer


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Thank you to our Communications Volunteers for their support in collecting content for our Newsletter!

Created By
Odain Brissett RMH-NY