by Ann Jerome
One of my RMHC buddies from Alberta, Canada said the nicest thing to me on the phone last week and it has captured my mind – he thanked me for helping him learn to “unleash the power of sharing” that has made a huge difference for him as a person and leader. That was an “aha” moment for me because to me the power of sharing is the essential mission of the Ronald McDonald House Charities organization – we unleash the power of sharing every day in each community where we operate in order to help families of sick or injured children find strength and support. Every day of the year on nearly every continent of the world, we give individuals, companies, and communities a wonderful place to “unleash their power of sharing” as they volunteer their time in the kitchen, help with projects or provide funding to support the organization’s operations. Their collective power enables us to open our doors every day to welcome new families who have just received the heart crushing news of a child’s medical diagnosis, or are dealing with the suddenness of an accidental injury that requires hospitalization and time away from home, family, friends, school and work.
My journey within the RMHC mission began in 2001 in Kansas City. I like to think that I haven’t changed all that much, but the real test of time is when I look at photos of my youngest son, Brandon, who was not quite two years old at his first “official” RMHC event (when he was terrified of Ronald –yikes!) to a few months ago as a teenager when we visited the Ronald McDonald House on our trip to New York City. Thankfully, being with Ronald is old hat for him now – just a part of the fabric of his life story too.
After 13 years with RMHC – eight years as CEO of RMHC Kansas City and five years in leadership here at RMHC Austin – I have accepted a position as the Austin Area Director for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and I will begin my work there in August.
As I move forward on my own journey – which will forever be entwined with my time at RMHC – I will continue to create ways for folks to unleash their power of sharing to help those who need help and I will always treasure my time at Ronald McDonald House Charities. It’s been a true joy and I look to a bright future with even more families and children being served by RMHC when and where they need it most.