Volunteer Spotlight: Jill Giannoble,National Charity League

Ronald McDonald House Volunteer Spotlight: Jill Giannoble, National Charity League

Beth: I have a few questions about your time volunteering with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho. You are part of the National Charity League, and you volunteer as an organization, correct?
Jill: Yes, that’s correct.

Beth: What is your role in the National Charity League?
Jill: I’m on the philanthropy committee, I have three different philanthropies that I manage, one being Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho. I basically schedule for the charities, put it on our calendars, and then make sure that the charities know who’s coming and that sort of thing. I’m a coordinated kind of a liaison between the Charity League and the philanthropy.

Beth: Would you mind sharing a little bit about it the National Charity League?
Jill: The National Charity League is, obviously, a national organization, that was started in California. I’m not sure how long ago it started, but it’s basically a mother daughter volunteer program that promotes volunteerism, and then leadership. It’s seventh grade girls and above, and their moms. We don’t have to volunteer together, but we are encouraged to volunteer as mothers and daughters. I was looking for the numbers, and I don’t have them exact, but we probably have 12 philanthropy organizations that we volunteer for, maybe 15. And we have about 50 families. So over 100 people in our mother daughter organization, and we’re all required to do at least 15 hours of service. Then we promote leadership for the girls, they have roles within their class where we teach them how to lead meetings and how to be better leaders and better people moving forward.

Beth: Wow, what a great organization and a wonderful opportunity for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho to pair with you guys as well.
Jill: Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho has been great for us too.

Beth: Well, that’s excellent. So, you did mention you coordinate people coming to the House. Have you yourself come?
Jill: Yes, my daughter and I have volunteered for a baking session several times. And then I coordinate the door decorations every month.

Beth: Oh, that’s really neat. Are the door decorations seasonally based?
Jill: Yes. And so, if it’s a month that has a theme it is, but otherwise we just pick. Every month we hang something new, it’s been fun to do that project! Either we as families make them together, or else, like one month the patronesses (which are our moms), made them during a meeting. It’s been a fun project. And it’s nice for them to have at-home hours too, because not everyone feels comfortable baking or cooking.

Beth: Right, that makes sense. So why did your organization decide to partner with Ronald McDonald House?
Jill: I think it’s one of the national organizations for the National Charity League, so I think that Ronald McDonald just pairs with the National Charity League in general. As long as there’s one in your town, and a league in your town, it’s very easy to coordinate together. And I also feel like Ronald McDonald House Charities has lots of different opportunities. But also, it’s especially nice for the girls to have a different perspective and see how everyone doesn’t have a perfect life, and then be able to go and It gives them the opportunity to see the families that are coming in and out and have a better understanding of what others are going through.

Beth: Yeah, I think that is a really valuable experience for young people. A lot of the people that I’ve been interviewing so far have been older folks who are retired. So, it’s interesting to hear your perspective.
Jill: I know, my daughter loves to go in and bake! Sometimes families will come through and say, “it smells great,” or, we’ll offer the cookies early, or what we’re making early, and it’s nice to see the smile on the kids’ faces! Especially when we know they’re either going through a hard time or their family or siblings are. So that’s really great to see that too. But I know my daughter really enjoys the interactions.

Beth: Do you have any memorable experiences either with staff or with families?
Jill: I remember there was a little girl with her dad, and I don’t remember what we were baking. I think we’re baking no-bake cookies. The little girl just didn’t want anything to eat, she wanted her chips, and her dad wanted to get her something a little bit more nutritious. We had no-bakes ready, and all of a sudden, she came over and she stopped fussing and got a cookie. I think her father was relieved to have something for his daughter to eat, and at least they had some oatmeal and some things like that in there. It was just nice to see that!
Beth: That’s really sweet.

Beth: Do you have a favorite thing you’ve done? Or a favorite thing you’ve had volunteers do at the House?
Jill: I think in our group the baking sessions are definitely the favorite for people. Because any skill level can come, and you can open a box and make brownies. I think my favorite thing is to bake. And my daughter is older, she’s a senior in high school, so the time together, baking and having her at the House for two hours volunteering is always a special time working with her.

Beth: That’s neat that you get to spend time with her in that way.
Jill: Yes, absolutely. And I think that’s what a lot of the moms in our organization would say too. It’s nice to have your daughter with you for two hours, and not only baking side by side, but to experience things together! To chat and work together because that just doesn’t happen in our busy lives.

Beth: Right. Would you say the structure of volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House lends itself to that?
Jill: Absolutely. And I think that there’s so many options that you can do, not just the baking or fixing dinners but there’s also the cleaning which I’ve seen lots of volunteers doing. And again, the volunteers are talking and chatting and enjoying themselves. Then I think about the aspect that there’s so many things you can do at home also. I know our team, we do thank you cards sometimes and we decorate bags at meetings. And so, there’s definitely a great way to volunteer for a group, especially when you have people at different skill levels and different interests.

Beth: That’s a good point because there are lots of different things that people can do.
Jill: Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s why it is so great for our organization.

Beth: When you are coordinating, do you have to promote Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho to the people that are signing up to volunteer? Or are they, for the most part already informed?
Jill: This summer, it has been overwhelming, the number of people who want to volunteer. I’ve had to add shifts, people are really enjoying it. As the school year starts, it becomes more difficult. But I would say Ronald McDonald House Charities is probably one of our most favorite organizations to work with! It’s easy too, because we can decide when we want to volunteer, or I can decide when I want people to volunteer.

Beth: Well, that makes your job as a coordinator easier, I would think.
Jill: Yes, absolutely. And it’s flexible, too, the baking sessions, and we usually try to stick with that. Because I know if for some reason someone can’t make it, it’s okay, if we skip a baking session. I would hate for us to miss dinner, lunch or you know, a big meal, right?  

Beth: That’s very considerate of you. And I know, people around here are always talking about how much they love when volunteers come in and bake things. Do you have a favorite recipe that you’ve made?
Jill: Well, we do no-bake cookie a lot. Usually we do two things…..We always do no-bakes because they’re easy. And other favorites, we did s’more bars one day, which were fun. And, chocolate chip cookies are always, always a hit.

Beth: Yes, those sound yummy. Is there anything else you want to share? Either about your experience at Ronald McDonald House or about the National Charity League?
Jill: I don’t think so. Except that I guess that every time I go into the Ronald McDonald House, the staff and volunteers are always so friendly and helpful and excited for us to be there. And so, I would say that it’s one thing that makes volunteering so special!

Beth: Well, thank you very much for volunteering and for coming in to serve people. We appreciate it!

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