Member Spotlight: May 2018

 Member Spotlight:

Jenny Fowler
Volunteer Manager ~ Ronald McDonald House Akron

 

What led you to your position at the Ronald McDonald House? 
About five years ago, I met the Volunteer Coordinator from Columbus Ronald McDonald House at a VAN meeting and was impressed by the volunteer program there. While I was searching for a new volunteer position myself, I decided to investigate Akron Ronald McDonald House’s volunteer program. In 2014, I began as a regular Core House Volunteer and thoroughly enjoyed it!  Every time I entered through the front doors of the House, I would think, “This would be a great place to work!” When a paid position came open, I applied and in July 2016, I became the Volunteer Manager at Ronald McDonald House Akron.

What is most challenging in your position? What is most rewarding?
Volunteers really are the heart of the House and we couldn’t serve all our families without them. Because we are a 24 hour/ 7 day a week operation, we never close. Our volunteers are in the House 12 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year, making sure families have everything they need so they can focus on their child’s well-being. Not only do I manage volunteers, but social media, groups, meals, tours and in-kind donations as well. My job takes a lot of concentration and coordination to make certain evening and weekend staff have everything they need. Our staff is small, so our volunteers help fill the gaps that regular staff don’t have time to fill. Being a global organization, Ronald McDonald House has a huge exposure any may people want to help whether through volunteering or donations. Many of those are filtered through the volunteer office so it is always incredibly busy. Even though we see families dealing with major illness, we also experience many acts of kindness each and every day and it can’t help but warm the heart. 

How does your job make a difference in your community?
We serve people all over Ohio, the country and even the world, allowing families with sick children to stay together and near the medical care they need. One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is meeting folks from all over the country and around the world. 

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?
Being “Mimi” to my two granddaughters is my greatest joy! When I’m not spending time with my family, you may find me in my quilt studio, allowing my creative juices to flow. I complete several quilts each year, depending upon the size of the quilts. For the past ten years, I have donated a quilt every year to my daughter’s school for their fundraising auction. Otherwise, my quilts are given to family members, mostly gifted for a major life experience such as a birth, wedding, and birthday. I also blog about my quilts, how and why they were made. 

How does being an FVA member benefit you in your position?
I have to thank FVA for adding proficiency to my role as a volunteer administrator and providing many diverse topics to help me in my position. As a member, it’s been a pleasure to meet so many creative and talented people and to learn from their experiences. Our workshops and Coffee Conversations are always informative and I encourage each of you as members to take advantage of our professional resources!

Learn more about Ronald McDonald House Akron and its volunteer program at http://rmhakron.org/volunteer/ 

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