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Ronald McDonald House Volunteer Spotlight: Jo Ann Johnson

Question & Answer Session with Jo Ann:

1. Tell us something you’d like others to know about you.
The joy I find is in my grandchildren who range in age from 9 to 30. I really enjoy doing volunteer work, even though what I am able to do is some what limited. I ‘deal’ Girl Scout Cookies and love doing that for the social part and helping accomplish goals that girls have set for themselves. I love the RMHC for their mission and the lovely people I have met when volunteering there.

2. What is your usual volunteering job with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho?
It was baking. Now I am limited to doing things at home (the Valentine project, filling eggs for Easter, donating items, making blankets).    

3. How long have you been volunteering for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho?
I have been a volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House since 2009.

4. How did you become a volunteer? And as a volunteer, what drew you to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho?
I moved here from Alaska. I had never heard of RMHC. I started a Girl Scout troop of 1st graders, and we were looking for a volunteer project. One of the little girls told me about RMHC. I don’t remember what we did for a project, but the mission of RMHC of Idaho has stayed with me forever. I began going in once a week to bake and do odd jobs around the House. The warmth of the employees and their dedication to helping parents/families of these young, sick children just struck ‘a chord’ with me. The kindness and caring is amazing. And then when I learned what the rest of the community does to help support the House – the Brown Bus Company food drive, the many organizations that donate food and supplies. The groups that came/come in to cook meals and clean. The ones who did the yard work, decorating. Individuals and companies. It is all amazing. Every ‘little’ or big piece of help seemed to be so needed and appreciated!

5. What do you enjoy about being an RMHC of Idaho volunteer?
I am made to feel that even the smallest thing means so much. I don’t do it for the feedback or pat on the back, but when ‘thank you’ is said and meant, it is a day brighter for sure.

6. In your time as an RMHC of Idaho volunteer, is there a meaningful moment or interaction you’ve carried with you?
There was a family visiting Idaho from Missouri (or maybe Mississippi). Their child was underwater in a pool for an unknown length of time. The family stayed at the House for a very long time while arrangements were made to move the child back home with whatever was needed for care. That Mom would cry tears of joy at all the love she felt from folks in the House – employees and volunteers alike. She said there was nothing like RMHC where she lived. Another couple was at the House from Europe and their baby was born early while they were visiting. In their limited English, they too, were so grateful to have a home-away-from-home. Several families had been there for 3 or 4 months….

7. What advice do you have for other volunteers (either current or onboarding) who are connected to RMHC of Idaho?
Just know that anything you do, or knowledge you have, is appreciated – from the smallest thing to a large donation. Anything helps these families who are in sometimes tragic situations. It doesn’t have to be a grandiose thing you do. I would take my granddaughters (one at a time) with me to bake, they were 8 and 13 at the time. Now they are grown and love to remember the times we shared at the House. It is a special memory for the 3 of us (and helped them on the way to know that any little thing they do is welcomed). Volunteering makes a difference, no matter how much or how little you are able to do!

Volunteer: Boise Ronald McDonald House

Volunteer: Eastern Idaho Family Room