Volunteer Newsletter: From Our House to Yours | Issue III
Ronald McDonald House New York has created a new Volunteer Newsletter to keep our community engaged, supported and connected while we are unable to have volunteers at the House due to the COVID-19 outbreak. We hope you enjoy it, from our House to yours!
While most of the country has hit pause, Ronald McDonald House New York continues to serve families battling pediatric cancer at our House on East 73rd Street in Manhattan.
Volunteer: Wellness Volunteer
Profession: Retired High School Science and Drama teacher. Now a freelance actor and voiceover artist, meditation & yoga teacher.
Years Volunteering at the House: 2
Favorite Activities at the House: In addition to my Restorative Yoga and Meditation class, I enjoy the monthly hospital outreach sessions, helping at Christmas, and the Block Party.
Volunteer Goal: My goal as a volunteer … as a human … is to encourage others (and myself) to create time for self-care. To guide them toward rediscovering their inner resources for meeting and managing stress better.
Volunteer Highlight: The highlight during every session is meeting the caregivers and then seeing them completely relaxed, at rest, and releasing the tension of the day. All experiences have been highlights in and of themselves. But one night, within my first few months of volunteering, I received a beautiful lesson that continues to inform my own practice and my life.
I had one parent in the session. We began by talking about ways of finding calm in the chaos of life and then I brought her into a restorative posture. Staff members poked their heads in a couple of times and then closed the door. Then, someone poked their head in and gave me “the eye” as if something was wrong. The mom, meanwhile, was completely at rest … unaware of what was going on. I quietly asked if there was something wrong and they told me there was going to be a fire alarm sounding soon. I asked if we needed to leave. He said no but that it would be very loud. The mom opened her eyes and I asked her if she wanted to leave. She said no, but needed to text her son to let him know what was happening and to tell him that she was staying in the Wellness Center. She settled easily back into the deep Restorative pose and then the alarm started ringing. IT. WAS. LOUD. And my eyes started rolling and my head started spinning with thoughts about how loud it was, and how it was interrupting her session (my session), etc.
Then, I grounded myself and looked at the mom. My mind had been racing but she was totally at rest, unaffected by the loud alarm! And she stayed that way for the entire time, her face soft and relaxed … breathing smooth and fluid. She was calm within the chaos of life! What an a-ha moment! At the end of the class we shared our experiences and staff members apologized for the disruption. It was really a blessing in disguise. The biggest lesson for me was that there’s no better way to teach how to find calm in the chaos of life than to experience the chaos in real time, feel it, and then choose to commit to staying calm.
"RMH-NY is an extraordinary universe where we all learn the true meaning of life, and compassion, and love, and support, and connection. It’s an honor and a blessing to be in this orbit and to serve." - Karen Asconi
Article Submitted by Helena Russo, Communications Volunteer