Unique Gifts for the Holidays
Part III of IV
Ronald McDonald House Charities offers many unique opportunities
As the first week of December has come and gone many shoppers are fully equipped for a Merry Christmas. Santa has embraced the mall scene while parents of eager children suffer through Disneyland-like wait times just to greet the jolly, old elf and get a tear-laden picture. Unique Gifts, however, remain at large. In our third part of this four-part series of Unique Gifts for the Holidays, La Vida Latina looks to a jolly, old clown known famously as Ronald McDonald and the scholarship and charitable opportunities available through Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Since 1985, RMCH through its network of U.S. Chapters have awarded more than $60 million in scholarships to students in financial who have demonstrated academic achievement, leadership and community involvement. RMHC has four programs dedicated to scholarships.
The RMHC Scholars provides scholarship opportunities to all students regardless of race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender, disability or national origin. The RMHC/Asia Scholarship Program offers opportunities to students that have at least one parent of Asian-Pacific heritage. RMHC/African-American Future Achievers provides additional scholarship opportunities to applicants with at least one parent of African American or Black Caribbean heritage. Finally, HACER, provides applicants of Hispanic/Latino heritage with scholarship opportunities. In fact, 2016’s national HACER scholarship recipients were accepted to prestigious universities like Columbia, Stanford, Harvard and New York. The five national scholarship winners from HACER will receive $100,000 ($25,000 paid over four years).
“We want these students to reach their full potential,” said Jonna Busack, Development/Communications specialist at the Ronald McDonald houses in Denver and Aurora. “To help them accomplish this, we offer scholarships to students in financial need.”
For information on how to apply for scholarships visit www.rmhc.org.
Ronald McDonald House
Scholarships, however, are just one of many philanthropic efforts in which RMHC is involved. In Denver and Aurora, for example, there are two Ronald McDonald Houses that provide a home away from home for families and children being treated at area hospitals. The Denver House recently expanded due to an increase in families hoping to make it their home away from home.
“In 2014, when faced with the reality that our houses were consistently full causing us to turn away thousands of families simply because we didn’t have the rooms to house them, we snapped into action and launched a capital campaign for the expansion of the Denver House,” Busack said. “Throughout the campaign, we raised the funds to build a 29,000 square-foot expansion which added 44 guest rooms, more than doubling our capacity.”
Between the Denver and Aurora houses, RMHC is able to house 118 families each night.
“Our larger house will keep more families of sick or injured children together during a time of need, ensuring that no child faces a hospital stay alone,” Busack said.
For more information on how to donate to the Ronald McDonald House or to request a room visit www.ronaldhouse.org.
Sky High Hope Camp
The Denver House was established in 2001 while the Aurora House opened in 2008. Unique to Colorado through RMCH is Sky High Hope amp, a camp for children who have (or had) cancer and their siblings. In 2016 the camp was held in early June at Camp Granite Lake northwest of Golden.
“At first glance it appears as any other overnight camp,” said Pam Whitaker, executive director at the RMCH Denver Chapter. “Campers participate in archery, arts and crafts, canoeing, hayrack riding, whitewater rafting, skits, a sing along under the stars and a field day. However, at closer look, one notices a few wheelchairs, some bald heads due to chemotherapy treatments, and scars from surgeries. These are children who have endured much as a cancer patient, or as a sibling, and they are having the time of their lives.”
Registration for Sky High Hope Camp 2017 will begin in January, for more information visit www.ronaldhouse.org.